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Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2019
Lancers and Aigles round out the high school championships
by Randy Pascal

Peer pressure proved to be a wonderful motivator Thursday afternoon in the SDSSAA Division II Boys Soccer Championship.

With their senior girls team having already enjoyed a surprising playoff run, all the way to the city final, and the junior boys capturing a NOSSA banner a few weeks back, the Lasalle Lancers senior boys team felt compelled to follow suit, responding with a 2-0 win over the Bishop Alexander Carter Gators in their gold medal affair.

Adam Bertrand accounted for both of the Lancers' goals, taking a perfect feed from Brennan LaPierre less than five minutes in to break the ice, and converting on a penalty kick in the second half, while Carter Wachnuk registered the clean slate in net.

"Our other two soccer teams were doing really well and we just wanted to carry on the legacy, try and bring soccer back at Lasalle, make it a sport that everyone wants to play," noted 17 year-old defender Shemar Walker.

In fact, while the Lancers were able to field a highly athletic squad this spring, the fact is that the vast majority of their roster is far more well known for their proficiency in another primary sport, banding together in a more free spirited format under coach Matt Cootes this year.

Case in point is fellow defender Nick Crawford, a Lasalle football veteran who has also suited up, in the past, with the Sudbury Gladiators. "Nick is a really good leader back there," said Walker. "He always makes sure we are playing defense when we have to."

"It usually gets to the point where we know that we're making mistakes, so we all come together and make sure that we can get back on track." Rounding things off at the extreme of their defensive formation is Wachnuk, one of a handful of Lancers who can, at times, become entangled in the intensity of these matches.

"We have to keep him (Wachnuk) calm, make sure he doesn't get too ahead of himself," said Walker with a laugh. "He likes to really get out there and get involved with the game. Sometimes, he forgets that he's the goalie."

The 2018 edition of the Lasalle Lancers' senior boys soccer team includes Carson MacMillan, Austin Pawluk, Ibrahim Alyousef, Carter Wachnuk, Tyrus Cuculick, Liam LaPierre, Nick Crawford, Joseph Deni, Noah Martin, Adam Bertrand, Nathan Scully, Shemar Walker, Brayden Bilyk and Brennan LaPierre.

A 2-0 final was the score of choice on Thursday, as the Horizon Aigles' girls team mirrored, fairly closely, the effort of the Lasalle boys later in the afternoon. Receiving goals from Amber Jacques and Amy Vis in the second half, and with keeper Hailey Law steering away all shots directed her way at the other end of the field, the Val Caron crew managed to silence the St Benedict Bears 2-0 for their first banner since 2007.

"There was a lot of different skills on our team, and I find that if we worked as a team, with all of the different types of skills, it would all work out," noted 18 year-old soon-to-be graduate Katrina Proulx.

"This is where it brought us." Truth be told, the Aigles had dodged a bullet just 24 hours earlier, when Jacques buried the game-winning goal with about three minutes to play, lifting Horizon past Bishop Carter 1-0 in a semi-final encounter that was contested in a torrential downpour.

"It was still fun, because we still worked as a team," conceded Proulx. "We still had great spirit, except for us being soaked." After dropping a 3-2 decision to the Bears in regular season play, the Aigles were quick to study the factors that worked against them, prior to taking the field for the rematch.

"We really scouted them out and realized that their mid (midfielder Christine Kettle) was very strong," said Proulx. "We made sure to stay on her all game and shut her down."

Donning the SDSSAA gold medals for the 2018 Horizon Aigles were Sophie Nadeau, Samantha Habiecht, Megan Richardson, Jessica Dufour, Jenna Lachance, Katrina Proulx, Gabrielle Rivest, Emily Reiss, Emily Lefebvre, Emily Gionet, Chanelle Rivest, Hailey Law, Brianne Morin, Brianna Gagnon, Brianna Dwyer, Angèle Séguin, Andréa Demers, Amy Vis, Abigail Leduc and Amber Jacques.

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