Royal Bay field lacrosse academy director and head coach Lucas MacNeil is pleased with the progress his athletes have made since the start of the school year.
That progress was on display earlier this month when the school’s junior and senior squads faced their B.C. rivals in a tournament on the mainland.
“We’ve improved leaps and bounds. You look at what we had last year and we had about 25 kids and this year we’re at 66 already … we’ve got a lot of talented kids,” MacNeil said.
The Colwood school’s seniors competed in the tournament’s Tier 2 division and placed third out of 13 teams.
The Tier 1 juniors earned a tie against Claremont in their first tournament game before losing to the Saanich school in the semifinals, but MacNeil was pleased they were able to get that far.
“There were 19 kids and 14 Grade 9s, so we’re super young,” he noted.
In Tier 2 junior action, the Ravens were in tough against difficult competition and finished fourth out of four.
MacNeil said lacrosse, and specifically field lacrosse, is growing on the West Shore and many Royal Bay athletes are on the radar for American college programs.
“NCAA coaches love bringing Canadians down and a lot of is because we’re so good in tight spaces with sticks, we’re good at finishing and willing to get dirty and go into the dirty spots to score goals,” he said.
Part of that style comes from the tendency for Canadian players to learn box lacrosse before moving to the field game.
Royal Bay secondary is planning to offer a girls field lacrosse academy program starting next year and approximately 15 girls have signed up so far.