Both our Victorian teams have sensationally gone undefeated to claim ultimate glory at the 2023 Box Lacrosse National Championships!
Our Victorian Women began their inaugural campaign only a few weeks prior to the commencement of the tournament. Under the leadership of Head Coach, Greg Mollison, and Co-Captains, Meghan Mollison, Sarah Mollison and Jen Plumb, the big V kicked off their crusade with a handy 14-4 victory over Western Australia where Nat Miller was a brick wall in the cage for MVP honours.
Following the sensational start, the team continued in their winning ways against South Australia on Day 2 with a convincing 28-5 victory! The Victorians had seemlessly found their footing in the unfamiliar box format and were running riot with a 19-4 margin at half time. Our young guns showcased their skill and ability with Meg Bown, Miriam Suares-Jury and Ebony Norman headlining what was an imposing win, securing a spot in the Final. MVP honours went to Meg Bown with 5 goals and 4 assists.
In the final pool game, Victoria displayed no complacency and continued their dominant run with a comprehensive 23-7 victory over Queensland. The Maroons traded blows with the Victorians with an early hattrick to Romy Ansell giving the Victorians a narrow 5 - 4 lead at quarter time. The second quarter however saw Victoria flip the script as Mim Suares-Jury started to have an impact, bringing up her hattrick in the dying minutes. It was much of the same in the second half with Meg Bown getting in on the act with the opening two goals to see Victoria extend the margin to 18 - 6 at the final. Dani Hadwin claimed MVP honours with 2 goals and 4 assists. Victoria would now go on to play Western Australia is the decider.
After accounting for the Black Swans on Day 1 by 10, expectations were high for the locals and Meg Bown played like it, scoring 3 opening quarter goals to spot Victoria a handy 4 – 2 lead before a Sayaka Higa strike with 1 second left extended the lead to 3 at the first change. Both sides were desperate and it showed with some niggle coming into the game as both teams relished the physicality that the box game offers. Higa displayed her composure and had seemed to developed a taste for the box chaos as she scored in the final minute again to give Victoria a 7 – 6 lead at half time. Western Australia responded proudly to score the opening 2 goals in the third quarter to take a surprise lead after 5 minutes which was quickly squashed. Nat Miller and Zowie Day took over to stifle both offences, keeping the score at 8 all for most of the third quarter. It took an unsettled play to break the deadlock at Mihiri Dharmabandu put Victoria back in front. Western Australia searched for the game tying goal but Paige Connoly, the new Victoria keeper, proved up to the task. Then in the space of a minute, Victoria blew the game open as Higa and Dharmabandu scored to extend the margin to 3 where it was to stay as Victoria claimed the title. For Victoria, Sayaka Higa was the MVP with a huge 4 goals while for Western Australia, Alannah Davis, who had 4 goals of her own was the standout earning MVP. Victoria are the 𝗜𝗡𝗔𝗨𝗚𝗨𝗥𝗔𝗟 𝗔𝗨𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗔𝗟𝗜𝗔𝗡 𝗪𝗢𝗠𝗘𝗡’𝗦 𝗕𝗢𝗫 𝗟𝗔𝗖𝗥𝗢𝗦𝗦𝗘 𝗖𝗛𝗔𝗠𝗣𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦
Congratulations to Victoria on the 2023 Australian Women’s Box Lacrosse Championship but more importantly, congratulations to all of the pioneers from all teams that made this Championship such a success that we have no doubt it will be back, bigger and better in the coming years.
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Our men begun their campaign against a well drilled South Australian outfit. Whilst Victoria's Tyler Reynolds displayed his talents and kept us even with the reds in the first quarter, South Australia continued their purple patch in the second quarter. SA took the lead as Tyler Leeming scored but Victoria responded, slowly at first, but then with a flurry, with a Tim Ratje bomb puntuating a run which saw the big V score 6 of 7 to lead 8 to 4 at the half.
The game was on a knife edge for South Australia, but it was Victoria who struck first and often, scoring the first 4 goals as the class of Caleb Hall saw Victoria race to a 14 - 6 lead. Any chance of a South Australian comeback where quickly evicerated in the last with Ratje proving to have a penchant for timely scoring, bringing up his hattrick. Nathan Twisk tried to keep it close but Victoria would finish the game with 9 last quarter goals to cruise to the big win.
The Victorian Men have continued where they left off, scoring the first 10 goals to cruise to a win over Queensland. Showing their incredible depth Victoria looked to be in control from the very start with the first 6 goals scored by different scorers until Chris Plumb bought up his second goal half way through the second quarter. Plumb and Travis Croll were figuring heavily to give the Vics a lead before James Suffolk got Queensland on the board before half time.The second half saw Victoria continued to streak ahead as Caleb Hall had the ball on a string on his way to 6 assists for the game and MVP honors. Suffolk bought up his second and Daniel Taylor added one in the last, but it would not be enough to slow Tim Ratje (4 goals), Croll (3 goals), Plumb (3 goals) and others as Victoria boasted 9 goalscorers.
The dominance of the home Victorians have continued on Day 3 with a big win over the previously unbeaten Presidents. The Presidents showed signs of life early with Sam Vincent ticking the twine but they were no match for the rampant Victorian offence who were tempered early, scoring three goals in the first, but came into their own in the second scoring 8 with Chris Plumb and Tim Ratje leading the seige.The Presidents slowed the scoring rate in the third but Victoria piled on another 6 goals in the last to run out convincing winners with Chris Plumb (MVP) and Tyler Reynolds scoring 9 goals between them.
Victoria closed out pool play in the same manner they started, with a dominant victory over the defending champs from Western Australia, ending Western Australia’s reign.Victoria absolutely flew out of the gates, eager to stamp their authority on the game scoring the first 3 goals before WA could muster a reply. However, Victoria kept the foot down scoring another 5 to lead by 7 at quarter time. The second quarter was much of the same with Lucas Wood trying to drag WA back into it, but Marcus Arambatzis was having a field day, scoring 5 first half goals. Western Australia fortified their defence in the third quarter, scoring the opener and hold Victoria for 9 minutes but Victoria managed to finish with a flourish to lead 17 - 5 at the last change. With the heat out of the game the last quarter was a bit of a procession, with both sides adding 3 goals for the 20 – 8 final as Victoria progressed to the championship game, while WA will look to claim third.
Our men had booked their spot in the decider against round 1 nemisis, South Australia. In what was a tight first half affair, Victoria were unable to completely pull away from their never say die opponents with scores settled at 8-4 at half time. Our experienced leaders in Caleb Hall, Chris Plumb and Tyler Reynolds stood tall and proceeded outclass the Reds in the second half, displaying their composure and control, taking the Big V to a 14-6 lead at half time. In true Victorian spirit the 8 goal lead would not suffice our team who would pile on another 9 goals to 3 in the final quarter alone to comfortably run out winners and crowned 2023 Box Lacrossse National Champions! Caleb Hall was a standout with 5 goals and 2 assists alongside Chris Plumb who had 3 goals and an assist of his own. Tyler Reynolds finished with 4 goals and an assist whilst Tim Ratje (3), Aaron Aldred (2), Lucas Parsons-Quintiao (1), Dan Mentiplay (1), Brendan Freeman (1), Travis Croll (1), Lachlan McDonald (1) and Marcus Arambatzis (1) all found themselves on the goal scorers list as Victoria ran out a 23-9 victory.
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Congratulations to all those who trialled and were selected in the final Victorian Box Team. You have made our community immensley proud and we are ecstatic you could all share this wonderful result in our own backyward at Altona Lacrosse Club's Alan Lewer Box court!
Victoria can now proudly boast we are current National Champions of both Men and Women Field AND Box lacrosse - an achievement that will be difficult to match!