Fraser Valley’s U16 girls will play for the national title – the same titled they claimed a year ago – after a triumphant victory over Montreal’s DDO this afternoon.
Coming into nationals, the powerhouse FV squad was pegged as the favourites after more than a calendar year spent atop the NCL standings. Since their nationals run at the end of the 2014/15 season, through another NCL season, and Western Championships, Fraser Valley’s squad has remained undefeated throughout it all.
Unlocking the key to Valley’s success is, to quote Shrek, like peeling back an onion. Layers and layers of depth, complemented by unmatched top-level skill, and capped off with the reigning Most Valuable Coach, Justin Mitchell coaching the team, the girls have seemed to be nigh on unstoppable.
And that train just kept rolling right through the station this afternoon, as the FV squad matched up against an underdog team from DDO in the semi-final matchup in Montreal. Though it was tight in the early going, a powerplay marker from Ava Morrant in the first put Valley on the board, and was largely a sign of things to come for the rest of the game.
Speed proved to be a key factor, as Valley’s girls racked up steal after steal, and utilized their blistering quickness up the pool to punish DDO on the counter-attack. Deena Charles recorded a team-high four steals, but close on her heels were Katarina Preocanin, Tianna Smids-Dyk, and Morrant, who had three each respectively.
And when the door was open to DDO, even briefly, all-star goalie Gabby Mantyka was there to shut it with authority, making seven defiant saves throughout the match.
As the game wore on, Valley’s girls found the back of the net with increasing efficiency. Though Morrant took over the game, scoring six, she had ample assistance from Smids-Dyk, and Kinga Wisniewska, who potted three apiece. Rounding out the scoring was Preocanin (two), Charles (one), Abbie Carter (one), Emily Bird (one) and Holly Fedyck (one). Final score in the match was 18-8.
When the final buzzer sounded, a rematch of the Western Final was set to take place as the National Final – FV will meet Team Saskatchewan, who earlier claimed victory over a favoured CAMO team. The final will be on at 11:40 a.m. tomorrow (Montreal time), and will be available to watch over livestream by following this link: http://sportscanada.tv/waterpolocanada/ncllive.