It’s a sport that still has room to grow locally but recent success says that the program is stepping in the right direction.
The Soo Spartans returned home with silver from the Ontario Lacrosse Festival Intermediate B Division event in Whitby, Ont. this week where the team competed against many of the top teams in the province.
“It says a lot that we’re doing things right up here,” said Spartans Coach Tyler Stewart. “It’s very challenging for us because every other team has some sort of regular season where they play against each other. We only get to play in the occasional tournament.”
The Spartans dropped a 6-1 decision to Toronto Beaches in Thursday’s championship game, but Stewart spoke of the youth on the Spartans roster and the ability of the players to compete in the division that has players ranging in age from 17 to 21.
“We’re a little bit of the underdog anywhere we go because nobody really knows who we are,” Stewart said. “We don’t get the games that these teams get. It shows that we can still compete up here without the huge pool of players that these other teams have. To show some success is a pretty great feeling.”
The Spartans advanced to Thursday’s final thanks to a 3-0 record in the round robin and a 3-2 semi-final win over St. Catharines on Thursday morning. The game saw the Spartans score a pair in the final minute of action to pick up the win and advance to the final.
“That’s a huge accomplishment, even for our whole association,” Stewart said. “It’s the furthest that we’ve ever gone. You set the goal at the start of the year to win a championship but to get there is a whole other story. We do have a very young team. It’s awesome looking back that we were able to achieve that with the calibre of teams we were playing against.”
In the round robin, the Spartans opened the tournament with a 5-4 win over Toronto on Tuesday before beating Niagara 6-4 later in the day Tuesday in a game that the Spartans held a big lead before Niagara made things close late. The Spartans would wrap up round robin action on Wednesday with a 4-2 win over Wallaceburg.
The Spartans midget team, competing this week in the Midget C Provincials in Whitby, head into the final day of round robin action on Saturday with a win and a tie following the opening day of action.
The Spartans midget team picked up a 6-1 win over Arthur in its tournament opener on Friday morning before playing to a 4-4 tie with Cambridge in afternoon action. The team will conclude round robin action on Saturday morning against Gloucester. Playoff action begins Saturday evening with quarter-final games. The top two teams in each group move into the playoff round with the championship game set for Sunday afternoon.