WESTLOCK — The 14U Westlock Rock lacrosse team gave it their all to end the season with a strong provincial run but failed to make the playoffs.
The Minor ‘B’ Lacrosse Provincial Championships took place July 8-10 in Cold Lake and saw the Westlock Rock finish in fourth place in Pool ‘B’ with a 1-3 record through four round robin games.
The Rock got off to a good start in Game 1 July 8, with an 8-2 victory over the Sylvan Lake Buccaneers. That was followed by an 11-5 loss that evening to the Lethbridge Cudas, and a 5-1 defeat to the Lakeland Heat (Cold Lake). Their season ended July 9 when they fell 6-3 to the Red Deer Chiefs.
“We thought we had a good enough team to make it, so we applied (for provincials) and went,” said 14U head coach Josh Reay, noting teams don’t have to qualify for provincials but apply to participate in the annual championships.
It was the first time this group competed in provincials, with 14 players ranging in ages from 10 to 14 on the team, noted Reay, adding he was pleased with his team’s efforts despite finishing in fourth place in Pool B and not moving onto the medal round.
“They did pretty well,” said Reay. “The kids had a blast. Just being able to play teams that we hadn’t played before — all the teams in our pool were new, we had never met them before, so it was a good experience that way, to see what else is out there in the province,” said Reay, adding they also had some team bonding during their down times, and spent time together at the beach. “It was a good time to get together for the end of the season.”
Reay pointed to several attributes both individual players and the team itself demonstrated throughout the season that contributed to their provincial championship run.
“Just seeing how hard working of a team they were, never giving up,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the score was, they were always right in the game there trying to play their best. Going to provincials we played against a couple of really tough teams like Lethbridge and Red Deer, who were close to the top in their league.
“We stayed right in there with them,” explained Reay. “I think the team played their best lacrosse over that weekend — they were there, they were trying to win, and they gave it their all. “