Hawks crowned COSSA champions
By Darren Lum
An amazing thing happened at this year’s Central Ontario Secondary School Athletics (COSSA) championship final. It ended in regulation between the Red Hawks varsity A field hockey team and the North Hastings High School Huskies of Bancroft.
When it comes to the two teams’ history there is rarely a shortage of excitement, particularly involving championship games.
This year wasn’t any different except instead of a scoreless overtime and heart-stopping round of flicks, coming down to a last shot scenario there was a 1-0 victory for the Hawks over the team’s arch rivals, Huskies of North Hastings High School in Bancroft in regulation time.
First-year coach Jessica Lloyd was happy for her team and is looking forward to the upcoming Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championship this week in Peterborough.
“It’s great [that] they earned their way to OFSAA because we were going anyways,” she said, referring to both COSSA championship finalists earning a berth to the all-provincials.
Being able to come through and be part of the team that knocked off the Huskies after suffering a loss in the COSSA final the previous two years is exciting and proof the team’s hard work paid off, she adds.
Hawks player Jamie Little came through for the red and white, scoring part way through the first half.
After a loose ball scramble in front of the Huskies’ net, Little was the first to the ball, tapping it past the out of position goalie and over the line (just enough) for the goal despite an outstretched Huskies’ defender’s stick.
It was an important goal, as it stood for the game-winner ... abeit by several centimetres.
In the final minutes of the first, the Huskies were awarded six short corners in a row – this is when the attacking team (Huskies) inbound the ball while the defending team must only have five players, including the goalie, start from behind the goal line with its remaining players.
It proved to be important, as the Hawks hung on for a 1-0 win and a championship title.
At the half, Lloyd told the team to support one another and keep their sticks on the artificial turf.
The Hawks didn’t need much more than that
Although the Hawks survived a round of flicks in the Kawartha final, the COSSA tournament was far more straightforward.
The Red Hawks earned a berth to the finals with a 2-0 win over the Crestwood Mustangs earlier in the day. Goals came from forwards Shae MacNaull and Sydney Feir.
The Huskies also shut out its semi-final opponents, beating the St. Peter’s Saints 3-0.
Former coach Caley Sisson, who coached the team to multiple Kawartha titles over the past several years, including a COSSA title, was on the sidelines, helping and was happy for her team.
“They deserve a big win so it was really nice to see that,” she said.
The Hawks finished their regular season undefeated.
Also, in attendance was former varsity B coach Steve Smith, who was there cheering them on.
He knows many of the players, who have played for him in the past.
Smiling from year to year was the Hawks co-captain and defender Maddie Allore, who lost the previous two seasons to the Huskies.
She took great pride in the win against the tough rivals from Bancroft.
“It means a lot more because as opposed to just coming in second and getting to go then you’re kind of riding on coattails. Where we won and actually came first,” she said.
Lloyd laughed about how her petite goalie Sydney Cameron managed to grow, nullifying a scoring chance late in the game with her effort to intercept a pass.
“I think she stretched an extra foot somehow. She found it inside her,” she said.
Cameron’s split second decision to dive out to block the pass probably took away a certain scoring chance for an open Huskies player. She explained cutting off the pass was better than moving back in towards the net to take the shot.
Being able to beat the Huskies in her last year with the team means a lot to her after suffering two straight years of defeats.
“I was just really excited. I was happy that we finally beat them and could go to OFSAA,” she said.
Relief washed over when she was asked about not having to play in what would have been her third straight year of COSSA in a round of flicks to decide a game.
“We had to do that in Kawartha [championship final] and that was terrifying,” she said.
The Hawks will return to OFSAA after missing the past two seasons. The tournament is from Nov. 5 to 7 at various athletic facilities in Peterborough.