Though the Rockyview Silvertips Jr. Ladies lacrosse team failed to make it to the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) playoffs this year, the team is marking the season as a success.
“We made some good progress, especially in our offensive systems and our transition systems,” said head coach Robin Finley. “There is still work to do skill-wise, but from where we started the year, I think we’re a way different team than we were before, and there are some good things to build on for next year.”
Rockyview started positively in the June 21 season-ending game against the Calgary Cardinals, taking an early 2-0 lead – goals came from 17-year-old Cassidy O’Neill and 16-year-old Rylynn Hills. But Calgary showed why it had a 9-0-0 record by scoring eight on the bounce to take a commanding six-goal lead into the second period.
Rockyview’s Shelby Piche got one back for the Silvertips early in the second frame, bringing the score to 8-3. But that was as close as the home team came to staging a comeback, as Calgary went on another scoring spree to end the second stanza 14-3.
Trailing by 11 goals with just 20 minutes left to play, Finley said his message in the dressing room was to finish the game with as much intensity as possible.
“We had a game last weekend against one of the top teams – Sherwood Park – and we were down 7-1 going into the third period, and it ended 7-6,” he said. “We just said, ‘You know what? Let’s go in, chip away at it one at a time and end the season with lots of pride and effort.’”
The motivational speech proved effective, as Rockyview played its best in the final period. Both teams scored three goals each, with the Silvertips’ tallies coming from Hills, O’Neill and Abigail Oke.
“We had our ups and downs, definitely, but we finished the game off strong, which I like to see,” said Silvertips’ co-captain, Jaclyn Bayliss. “The girls are happy, and it was a great way to end the season.”
Following the final buzzer, the Silvertips players mingled on the court, taking team photos and soaking up the moment as their season came to an end.
Bayliss, the Silvertips’ sole graduating player, will move up to the RMLL’s Senior Ladies’ division to play for the Rockyview Attack for the 2020 season. The 21-year-old defenseman said she was proud to be one of the Silvertips’ captains in her final year of junior lacrosse.
“I was happy to be a leader for all of these new girls, and it was an amazing season to be able to help them grow, watch them win and work as a team throughout the year,” she said.
The defeat means the Silvertips ends the season with a 3-6-1 record, leaving the team in fifth place of the RMLL Junior Ladies division.
“As a whole, I believe there is still some work to do,” Bayliss said. “But I know these girls will kick butt next year, and I can see them going far.”