Ladysmith athletes and their respective Vancouver Island-Central Coastal teams persevered on home soil over the weekend at the BC Summer Games, gaining valuable experience on a big stage and bringing home multiple medals.
Julia Noon and Bella Charley were smiling ear-to-ear after their team defeated Fraser River 3-0 in the girls soccer final at McAdam field in Duncan on Sunday.
“It feels so awesome, I just can’t believe it. We’ve been working so hard towards this and I can’t believe we won,” said Charley. “Everyone was a bit nervous but we knew we could pull it off.”
Vancouver Island-CC’s 18-person roster had been preparing for two and a half months for the tournament – the largest multi-day sporting event for many of the players.
“It’s easy being a team because they’re all so nice and we all love soccer,” said Noon, adding that she’ll remember the people the most from the Games experience. “The volunteers are so nice and everyone is so excited to be here.”
Coach Patrick Ryan credited the girls and their parents with their commitment to ensuring the best possible outcome for the team.
“The difference in this team, which we thought was a winning team, is that they get on together all the time,” he said. “They were absolutely excellent… you can see they’re a pretty tight unit on the pitch and it shows off the pitch too – they were together as a team and I think that helped them win.”
A day earlier the Island team topped Cariboo-North East 4-1 to reach the final and tied its opening game with Thompson Okanagan 2-2 on Friday.
Ryan said they selected a team that would play an attacking style of football with three players in the back on defence.
“If you’ve good, talented attacking players that’s the way to play because the other team has to outscore you,” he said. Today, they (Fraser Valley) probably played as well as us but didn’t score as many goals and that’s how you win tournaments.”
Devyn Zunti was solid for the Vancouver Island-Central Coast team in its undefeated tournament at Fuller Lake Arena.
The team topped Thompson-Okanagan 10-5 in the final after a tense semi-final game on Saturday where they got past Fraser River 6-5 in overtime.
Coach Shane Terris of Nanaimo said he was pleased how the team found chemistry immediately in the tournament.
“It didn’t take much, we got them to talk to each other,” noted Terris. “They really seemed to click well together.”
At Forrest Field, Ladysmith’s West Cateaux secured his team’s birth into the field lacrosse finals after a hat trick and an assist in the semi-finals as Vancouver Island-CC beat Fraser Valley 10-8.
In the finals it was Fraser River taking the victory 10-5 and earning the local teen a silver medal.
Ladysmith co-hosted baseball all weekend at the Holland Creek ballpark along with Duncan.
Kaleb Freer played and Dru Wright took to the field for the Zone 6A team while James Joyce was on the Zone 6 team.
While it wasn’t the result both teams had hoped for, Saturday’s consolation match-up between the two teams in Ladysmith was an exciting finish to the tourney. The Zone 6 team came out on top 6-3, with excellent hitting from all three local players.
On the court, Ladysmith’s Katie Cornett was an offensive powerhouse for the Island squad despite them failing to win a game.
Still, she told the Chronicle she was walking away with a smile on her face because of the amazing Games experience.
“I think it went pretty well. It was lots of good competition and we learned to develop different skills as a team playing against other areas,”
“Sometimes we need to focus more on a team outcome rather than individual because you can’t win the game by yourself.”