Tackling played a big role in the Pen High Lakers tying the Mt. Boucherie Bears in Okanagan Valley 3A senior girls league action Wednesday.
“That’s what I think really kept us in the game. The way they all pulled together,” said Lakers coach Mike Bevan, who watched his group earn a 10-10 tie following a late second-half try by Lenaic Madevon. “They are going to be a great team this year. I think they are going to be a tough team to beat.”
Bevan was beyond thrilled about the Lakers performance.
“I thought they were magnificent,” he said.
The Lakers are led by core leaders and filled out with young, inexperienced players. The latter, however, impressed Bevan on a chilly afternoon at McNicoll Park.
“They all did so well out there. Some girls who don’t look good in practice, were just absolutely awesome out there,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how good some of them played.”
The Lakers opened the scoring in the first half on a rush by Madevon, then the Bears tied it up before the half ended and took the lead early in the second half. It was a physical affair with play stoppages required so coaches could help with injuries. Bevan said the players now realize how physical the game can be, something he thinks they may not have known before.
“We got girls who got banged around pretty good and they came off, but they all wanted to go back in,” he said. “That shows a lot of heart in individuals. It shows they wanted to be with the team as well. They wanted to play for the team.”
The Lakers still have work to do, said Bevan, but he feels positive about what they can do. Bevan, in his second season coaching the Lakers, sees the start as something to build from.
“We’re going to be a team to be contended with this year.”
As for his scorer, Bevan said Madevon, who played for the Thompson/Okanagan Zone in the B.C. Summer Games in Abbotsford, has come a long way.
“She is going to be a good player. Last year she was the stand out player for us,” he said. “I think she still will be this year. There is going to be a lot of other standouts as well that are really going to push her.”