Playing at the B.C. Summer Games was an eye-opening and thrilling experience for Zone 5 Lacrosse players including Sunshine Coast team members who brought their A game to the provincial matches in Nanaimo. It was also a treat for the other zone teams to see the skillful and dedicated play from the (Sunshine Coast-Northshore-Vancouver) Zone 5 team members, their coach Rob Pearsall observed.
“It’s their sportsmanship, it’s their spirit within the game,” he said of the 15 and 16-year-old boys lacrosse team.
The Zone 5 team had key challenges to overcome, having a short bench and a smaller pool of zone players in general, (they had just 15 players and two goalies, and one of their goalies was injured in the first game,) but what they lacked in numbers they made up for in determination and skill.
“I can tell you right now the Sunshine Coast players were an amazing, and really integral part of the fabric of our team,” Pearsall emphasized, “great kids, really easy to coach and obviously well coached over there,” (on the Coast, by Bethia Macey and Patrick Query.)
The Summer games were super for showing off local talent that athletes have been working hard to hone, the Zone 5 coach, Pearsall notes, adding Coast athlete Gabriel Chamberlain drew a lot of interest from other star players for his ability to take face-offs.
“One of the best face-off kids in the province, asked me, ‘who is that kid in the blue helmet?’ and I said that’s Gabriel Chamberlain,” the coach said. The opposing star player admitted he’d won just two face-offs the whole game.
The team kept pace with even eventual championship teams until the final periods, when their team’s size began to take a toll. “But they made these other teams work for (the wins),” Pearsall said.
Sunshine Coast forward, Jacob Huson had them on high alert, the coach observed, “(Huson) reads the floor really well and it’s hard to stop him when he goes for the net.”
Huson confirmed their lines had to hustle, but said he got a lot from the experience at the high intensity Summer Games.
“It was definitely a unique experience to go over there and play all these really good players,” said Huson, who’s been playing for six years already, “we had to take short shifts and give it your all, and move the ball really quickly … you don’t want anyone to get injured or give up a chance to score.”
Their coach praised Justin Macey for being an awesome part of their zone team, noting the Coast athlete is a very solid player. Pearsall added the entire team played with unmatched sportsmanship that got noticed at the Games.
The chance to play with high tier players from Vancouver and the North Shore was vital for forward Gabriel Chamberlain.
“Getting to spend time with people I’d never played with before was really great … playing guys who’ve played for five and six years, so you really have to step your game up and play a lot harder to achieve your goals,” Chamberlain observed.
The face-off whiz said he appreciated having a good coach to motivate them, and help from the assistant coaches of the team, Chase Pearsall and Josh Kelly.
“They tell you straight out what you need to do, and give you great pointers,” Chamberlain said.
The youths’ Sunshine Coast league lacrosse coach, Bethia Macey was pleased at their Summer Games performance.
“It was quite gratifying to have them do so well,” Macey expressed, “and it’s not any one person who made this happen; it was the (Coast lacrosse) community who helped build these young athletes.”