Editor’s Note: Shendelle Oliver put together the following report on Western Australia’s national championships win. Much appreciated for the update from Down Under via a traveling girl in Europe!
West Australia defeated Victoria last week 11-8 at Footscray Lacrosse Club in Melbourne in the Australian National Championships. West Australia’s, Tim Stoner was named MVP for the match.
Victoria had defeated Western Australia in the round robin match previously by a goal (score was 7-6), but in the final, West Australia led from the outset, and took home the victory. Knowing that they had only gone down by a goal in their previous meeting with Victoria, the game plan seemed to be predicated on getting in front early, which WA did, enabling then them to start the second quarter a goal up on Victoria.
When the game was on the line in the second quarter West Australian goal-keeper, Warren Brown had a couple of huge saves on Victoria’s Aaron Lawman, which set the tone and boosted WA’s confidence. It has been great to see Warren back in between the pipes. WA Defender, Callum Robinson (from Stevenson, the D3 NCAA champ), was also able to generate possessions and turnovers through on-ball pressure.
It was in the third quarter that WA really broke away from Victoria with a strong showing, and the score was suddenly 10-4. During this period Western Australia just kept possession of the ball and maintained pressure on Victoria’s defense. Victoria struggled to clear the ball against West Australia’s ride, and the weight of possession time provided Western Australia with some great scoring opportunities.
Throughout the game in the face-off Miles Blair and Jesse Bowland-Curtis were able to get on top and begin possessions early. Tim Stone and Thomas Graham were both outstanding on both sides of the field. They played exceptional short stick defense, and were able to cause turnovers and force bad shots from Victoria, then generate offence for West Australia going the other way.
West Australian Captain, Glenn Morley said, “It was a great team effort with all 20 guys playing their roles throughout the championship. The ground conditions were very tough and foreign to most of our players – who would have never played in genuine mud before, and it was a credit to the team to adjust to the conditions, then outperform the locals, to walk away as National Champions.”
Morley also said that after the disappointment of West Australia’s performance in last year’s nationals he was extremely satisfied to lead a very young team into Melbourne and hold up the trophy. “It was an experience I was able to share with a great group of guys and am very proud of.”
For Stevenson University’s, Callum Robinson it was the chance to live the ultimate lacrosse dream. Returning to Australia from Maryland, he met the West Australia team in Melbourne and played in the tournament only weeks after becoming a D3 NCAA champion at Stevenson.
Western Australia’s Thomas Graham, Matt Diver and goal-keeper Warren Brown were named in the Australian Allstars team. Brown was also named MVP for the tournament.
In the women’s National Championship game, Victoria 12 defeated South Australia 8. Lydsey Paton (Victoria) and Bella Pickett (South Australia) were named MVP’s for the game. Both women will be representing Australia in the women’s up and coming World Championship in Canada.
The following day after the championship, the Australia men’s squad preparing for Denver were back out on the park. Australia played the Japanese squad and defeated them 10-7.
The Australian women’s team were also in action, defeating New Zealand 21-5 in a World Cup teaser.