The Penticton Heat U15s outscored its opposition 27-13 in opening weekend of Interior Field Lacrosse League play.
“I think for my team in particular it went pretty well,” said coach Dan Chetner as they rocked the Kamloops Rattlers 14-1 and earned a narrow 13-12 win over the North Okanagan Legends.
Chetner said they have to be careful to jump to conclusions about teams.
“I was probably more surprised the North Okanagan game being so close,” he said. “We didn’t play as good as we could have. Both games gave us something to work with.”
Chetner will switch focus to improving team strategies. Against the Rattlers, their defence was very good, but not as effective against the Legends. He wants to see his players tighten up in that area and discovered another area of importance.
“I would say another key word for us is patience,” he added. “We just have to develop more patience and manage the ball more.”
Chetner liked how all his players were prepared to work and that there wasn’t a lot of individual play.
Providing offence against the Rattlers was Ben Olsen with five goals and an assist, Beau Chetner with two goals and an assist, Matt Carson a goal and two assists, Brandon Craig netted two goals, while Colin Duffield, Logan Cote, Connor Nohr and Nash Moog, each scored once. Matt Marshall had one assist. Against the Legends, Beau racked up six goals, Olsen had four and an assist, while Kale Lawrence, Carson and Aiden Warren each scored a goal.
The Heat, who are defending provincial champs, will be carried by its 15 returning players with three rookies. Chetner has three goals for his team this season: have fun; develop as individuals and team players; and repeat as provincial champs.
U13 Heat rebound from loss
The Heat U13 squad earned a split as they opened with an overwhelming 13-1 loss to the Kamloops Rattlers, but bounced back with a 9-6 win against the Kelowna Kodiaks.
Coach Richard Henson said they analyzed what the players needed to work on following the loss and that helped in the second game.
“As coaches we are looking for players to be assertive and work hard for control of the ball,” he said. “Game-sense comes with time and experience.”
Henson and his staff feel they need to get their players to learn how to open the opposing teams’ defence and tighten their own.
U11 Heat learning to play
The under-11 Heat opened the season in Kelowna with losses to Kamloops, 13-5, and Shuswap, 8-5.
Coach Chris Danby said his team performed well for its first game together.
“I have a lot of kids that are new to the sport. A few kids that played box lacrosse for the first time this year,” said Danby. “I don’t really have any expectations going in. I just kind of wanted to see how everybody responds to the actual game situation.”
Taking charge offensively was Chay Gettens, Danby’s lone 11-year-old who scored every goal against Kamloops and added another against Shuswap. Also scoring was Ben Coombes and Liam Danby with two. Danby is glad his team only plays once this Sunday. The Heat had 11 players, one sub, for its opening game and no subs for the second match.
“We had to play some ironman lacrosse,” joked Danby. “They were pretty beat up by the end of the second game. They were tired. They didn’t stop trying and working hard out there.”
Playing in goal for the first time was Branson Crawford.
With a new season underway, the Penticton Minor Lacrosse Association is seeing registration growth in field lacrosse. Last year they had 40 players registered, this year there are 45 from Penticton and six from the North Okanagan. Kids from that region had nowhere to play.
“I think it’s great,” said Danby of the growth. “Every year we have seen a little bit more. You are seeing a few kids coming from hockey.”
The association also has three players who played box lacrosse commit to the U15 squad. With a field lacrosse season going until December at the latest, it creates a challenge with getting kids as it coincides with hockey. Danby said instead of them going to field lacrosse, they go back to hockey.
“It’s hard to pull kids away from another sport lots of times,” he said adding, that some could play hockey at the same time, though it would be a challenge, especially as practices conflict and lacrosse games are on Sunday. “It would be tough the first couple of months.”
Penticton Minor Lacrosse will still accept registration for kids to play at the U11 level (its season runs until mid-November), but for the two older groups, the teams are full.
Anyone interested in registering for field lacrosse can check www.pentictonlacrosse.ca and click on the 2015 field registration tab on the main page. That directs you to another page to start the process. Or email Penni King at firstname.lastname@example.org.