Team Ontario wrote itself into the history books Friday night with a 2-1 win over Team British Columbia to capture the first gold medal in women’s lacrosse at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.
“It means a lot to these young ladies,” Team Ontario Head Coach Troy Cordingley said. “We just had a discussion in the room about the history of being the first team to win it and 20 years down the road when they have families of their own they’ll meet up with each other and they’ll have that connection forever.
“They’re going to be sisters forever.”
The sense of history was not lost on Cordingley.
“It’s unbelievable. From the start of our training camp and being part of this for the first time and setting history with the girls being first-time winners, it’s overwhelming right now. When I go back and have a couple of days to sit back and think about it, it’s probably going to be even bigger.
“I’m just so proud of these girls. What we’ve endured with injuries and things like that. They’re just remarkable young ladies.”
Team Ontario set their sights high heading in the tournament.
“That (gold) was our goal but we knew it was the process before the reward and we wanted to be the hardest working team and for the most part I thought we dominated most games and worked hard and these girls were rewarded for that,” Cordingley said.
Team Ontario captured the gold in dramatic fashion breaking a scoreless tie in the third period only to have BC rally to tie the game. Ontario then quickly answered and were able to hang on for the victory.
“Both goalies were sensational, making save after save and 39-39 in shots,” Cordingley said. “We got one more past them. There’s not much difference at 2-1 between gold and silver. Let’s be honest here. BC is a real good team and today we had their number by getting one more.”
Team Ontario captain Morgan White admitted she was anxious heading into the game.
“I was so nervous but I knew I had my team on my side,” the 16-year-old Milton resident said. “One of the things we focused on going into it was teamwork and I knew my teammates were there for me and I was there for them. That definitely helped.”
Milton said she won’t soon forget the accomplishment.
“I think it’s all in the moment. Obviously we wanted to win gold but being out there playing in the gold medal game for the first time at the Canada Summer Games was just so much fun alongside a bunch of my best friends. I don’t want to be anywhere else other than doing that.”
Cordingley said he hopes the exposure the sport gained at the Games will benefit women’s lacrosse in the future.
“There were nine unbelievable women’s lacrosse teams here, showcasing women are phenomenal athletes and we should be giving them more accolades,” he said.