The Nanaimo District Secondary School Islanders battled rival field lacrosse teams as well as the flu en route to a championship last week.
The team was in Coquitlam last Wednesday to Friday competing in the senior tier 2 provincial championship with the Islanders defeating the Royal Bay Ravens 9-7 in the title game. The team was undermanned due to a number of ill players. Joel Smith, NDSS head coach, said the team headed over with 14 players, but that was reduced to 13 after a player had to head back to Nanaimo because he was so sick – a number of players were too sick to make the trip.
“That was kind of the message to the guys the whole week that if you guys can achieve our goals with this adversity and work together and I guess our message all year is family and being there for each other and playing for each other,” said Smith. “If they can achieve their goals, through this adversity, everything’s going to be and feel that much sweeter at the end.”
Congratulations to Isaac Prochnicki who plays goalie for @ndsslacrosse who wins the SR Tier 2 tournament MVP . Won all his games and tied 1 during the tournament !! Plays box for Nanaimo !!@teamxtreme77 @epochlaxcanada @Epochlax thank-you for the tournament sponsorship !! pic.twitter.com/z7IH0l9p3v
— BCHighschoollax (@BCHighschoollax) March 10, 2018
Goalie Isaac Prochnicki was named most valuable player of the tournament and Smith said he was a workhorse for the team.
“He was absolutely outstanding, everything we could hope for in a goalie,” Smith said. “He kept us in games, he made the biggest saves that we didn’t think he was going to make. He was an absolute rock for us and just gave us that extra confidence we needed. Probably some of the best lacrosse I’ve seen him play.”
The championship game matchup was one the team expected and the Ravens were no pushover, said Smith.
“We gave up seven goals, but they were a very fast, physical team, so with 13 guys they definitely put the run on us a bit,” Smith said. “But I think our strength and our back end, which led to probably four or five transition goals, just fast breaks up the field, probably made a difference for us … We held the ball and had very long, quality possessions on offence, kind of time management and milk the clock, so it was a very smart, efficient, simple game plan against them and it reflected our 13-man roster. We pulled it off. They didn’t deviate from the game plan.”
Overall, NDSS went 5-0-1 throughout the tournament. Smith said the team defeated Pitt Meadows 13-2, Riverside 7-3 and tied Vancouver College 4-4 in the round robin. In the playoffs, it defeated Heritage Woods 8-3, Vancouver College 7-2 and, as mentioned, Royal Bay 9-7 in the championship.