No victory for home team at the Victory Cup

By Darren Friesen

Most Canadians consider hockey to be this country’s national pastime. However, for the athletes that played on one of the 10 lacrosse teams at last weekend’s National Victory Cup, it’s a different story. While lacrosse has yet to be accepted as widely across Canada, there are many people involved with our nation’s oldest sport, among them some of the University of Calgary’s students.

Just beyond the Calgary campus at the Foothills fields the prestigious Senior Men’s National Field Lacrosse tournament was held on Thanksgiving weekend. Teams from across the country were represented, including the highly skilled favourites from Calgary. Going into the first day of competition the Calgary undoubtedly proved their talent by scoring decisive victories over Nova Scotia and Quebec. Saskatchewan and Victoria, both highly touted in this tournament, also won in opening day action.

Saturday’s games included a morning spent qualifying for the playoffs and afternoon semi-final match-ups. Calgary dominantly forced their way through round-robin action and moved into the semis untouched. However, Victoria proved tougher than expected. A hard-fought battle between the two Western Canadian squads ultimately saw Victoria’s goaltending, combined with their strong defensive play overwhelm the hometown team. The loss put Calgary into the bronze medal match-up on Sunday morning against Quebec.

Desperate to bring something positive out of the weekend’s competition, the Calgary team played a good lacrosse game against Quebec. Both teams impressed with a fast-paced game, nevertheless, Calgary outplayed their opponents and won by a score of 12-5.

Coach Perry Mannington, affectionately known as "Juice" by his teammates, talked about his team’s third-place finish.

"We’ve improved as a club, that’s important," he said. "We’re going to use this as building for next year."

U of C undergrads Dave Jenkins and John Miller both had good performances at the tournament. Furthermore, Ray Boykue, a PhD candidate, was impressed with the play of his young team. For these athletes and all the other Calgary team members this was a victory that will long be remembered. Last year’s team didn’t even go to the national tournament, therefore a third-place finish is considered a dramatic improvement.

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