(WINDSOR, ON) – It has been a heck of a season for the Windsor Warlocks Midget Girls lacrosse team.
Ranked fifth in the province, the Lady Warlocks have proven they can roll with the best in the Ontario Lacrosse Association and are preparing for a run at a Provincial ‘A’ championship.
Sitting with an 8-5-1 record, the Warlocks started off their season with style by dominating the Kitchener-Waterloo Lax Angels Tournament in May.
“Great start to the season. The tournament in Kitchener was great,” said Windsor’s head coach Lloyd Land.
The Warlocks played their first game of the tourney on May 24 against the Six Nations Warriors and pulled out a solid victory.
The game opened up a little rough for Windsor, as Dakotah Sarty took a high-sticking minor only 32 seconds into the match. The Warriors made her team pay for the error as Navada Hill popped a power-play marker only 18 seconds later to take an early lead.
Six Nations built on the momentum, when Kendal Henry tallied an unassisted marker three minutes later to make the score 2-0.
The Warlocks, however, were far from done.
Backed by a shutout period in the second by goaltender Faye Hoster, Windsor’s Sierra Sarty split the lead with a shorthanded rocket to give her team the momentum into the third.
In the final frame, Hoster shutdown the Warriors once again as the offence sprung to life. Lauryn MacPherson dented the twine for Windsor in the opening minute, followed by a power-play blast from MacKenna Brosseau to give them their first lead of the tournament. Emma Ferrato’s shorthanded rifle with a minute to go sealed the 4-2 win.
The next morning, the Warlocks again got out to a slow start, this time against the Kitchener-Waterloo Braves. The first-period goal by K-W’s Isabelle Beaupre was the lone tally of the period.
The Warlocks struck back in the middle frame with a rip from Jenna Wilson off of Abby Lyder’s faceoff win only nine seconds in. Windsor took the lead just minutes later with a goal on the advantage by Ferrato.
The Braves rallied late in the frame to tie the game and built up a two-goal lead with tallies by Lilly McAllister, Sofia Westfall, and later Madelyne Petrie on the advantage after an illegal cross-check call against Lyder.
In the third, Hoster and the defence locked down Kitchener-Waterloo, gaining Hoster her third shutout period of the tourney.
On offence, the Warlocks slowly picked apart the fading Braves as Wilson, Ferrato, and Lyder all ripped mesh to eke out the 5-4 win.
Later that afternoon, Windsor needed a victory against the Simcoe Timberwolves to lock up a berth in Sunday’s tournament final.
The Warlocks started the right way, pounding Simcoe goalie Megan Carrier with tons of rubber. Wilson, Dakotah Sarty, Lyder blew the game wide open early while Hoster tallied yet another blank frame.
Late in the second, the Timberwolves finally got on the scoresheet with a power-play marker from Grace Provoost after a Lyder high-sticking infraction. Windsor captain Kaelyn Kapsalis responded in-kind just a half-minute later, followed with a blast from MacPherson not long after that.
Despite a third-period goal from Simcoe’s Nyla Vanwynsberghe, the Warlocks punched their ticket to the final with a 5-2 win.
The next afternoon, Windsor again met the Braves – this time for tournament bragging rights.
The final started off as a goalies’ duel between Hoster and K-W’s Tessa Kettles, as the two refused to blink for the first 27 minutes of the match.
After going scoreless in the first frame and much of the second, Hoster would crack once and only once as Rachel Anderson scored for the Braves with a little less than three minutes remaining in the second stanza.
The celebration was short-lived, however, as MacPherson rifled a shot past Kettles with 24 seconds left in the frame to knot the game at 1-1.
The floodgates opened in the third. Backstopped by Hoster’s sixth shutout period in four games, Windsor ran roughshod on their opponents, led by a pair of rockets by Kapsalis and Dakotah Sarty to clinch the gold medal with a 5-1 victory.
“We played three competitive games leading up to the finals,” said Land. “Then it all came together with a fantastic win over a very good Kitchener team.”
“The girls really impressed me with their hard work and never-die attitude,” said the coach, as his team trailed in three of the four tournament games.
“With our leading scorer, Emma Ferrato, out for the finals with an injury, our team really showed me a lot by coming together with great leadership and played a great finals for the win.”
“It was really good,” said team captain Kaelyn Kapsalis. “We had good passing, we worked well as a team, we all cheered each other on – it was good.”
Kapsalis is a Grade 10 student at St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School. She enjoys carpentry and has been accepted into their construction academy. She hopes to someday own her own business.
“They’re really good girls. We support each other a lot,” she said of her teammates. “We’re going to try and go harder, try to do better.”
She sees her Warlocks as a team that can get it done at both ends of the rink.
“We do really good at defence because we have some big hitters and when we’re on offence we pass well,” she said.
Kapsalis is glad they have Hoster in the crease to bail them out when things go wrong.
“Our goalie is doing really good,” she said. “She’s saved a lot of goals, she’s playing good. She’s saved games for us when we were down and really helped us when we were in the penalty box too.”
Kapsalis’ assistant captain, Lauryn MacPherson, is also impressing her with her work ethic and toughness.
“[Lauryn] tries really hard,” said Kapsalis. “She gets knocked around a lot, but that’s just her and she always gets back up.”
Land has been impressed with his team this season, in all aspects of the game.
“Our defence has been stellar and with our goalie, Faye Hoster, playing outstanding, we have a chance in every game,” he said. “With dynamic athletes on this team, it allows us to run past most teams on offence.”
The Warlocks’ girls program has flourished since its inception only a few years ago, but with the more Toronto-centric centres starting all-girl teams as young as novice and peewee, Windsor’s clubs have always had to rely on crossover athletes to fill their ranks.
“I believe with the midget girls being our entry-level in Windsor, it all hinges on the new players,” said Land. “We have four [new players] this year and they have been great additions. They have worked hard, learned their role, and have rounded out, what I believe is, a very dangerous team going forward.”
The Warlocks’ roster is full of integral players and also include Alex Begbie, Erica Wigeluk, Jillian Zimmer, Camryn Moerchen, Mariah Labelle, Myla Masschaele, and Nicole Gagnier.
The Midgets, aged 14-16, are coached by Lloyd Land, Colin Land, trainer Dawn Hoster, and manager Jackie Garant.
“The goal is to try and do really good in ‘A’,” said Kapsalis about the upcoming Ontario Lacrosse Festival in Whitby. “We just moved up from ‘B’ … hopefully, in ‘A’, we can get some [solid competition] and do good from there.”
For more information, please visit Warlocks Lacrosse online.