Our 2023 junior seasons have officials concluded! In case you missed the action, see the below summary of each Grand Final.
UNDER 14 GIRLS
In the annals of sporting history, one could hardly conjure a more mesmerizing spectacle than what unfolded on that fateful day. It was the clash of titans, as the formidable Footscray and Newport squads squared off once more in the Grand Final, a rematch eagerly awaited since Newport's dramatic 12-8 Semi Final triumph just a fortnight prior.
The stage was set for an epic showdown, and it was Footscray who launched the first salvo. They raced to a commanding three-goal lead, a 6-3 advantage at the halftime whistle. The brilliance of Hannah Mannix and Lexie Williams of Footscray shone through, showcasing their prodigious skills, while Carys Nolan and Ruby McNair valiantly steadied the ship for the Newport Ladies.
But this was a contest that would see the tension escalate with every passing minute. Newport, finding their rhythm, started to hit their stride. Illeana Morlang emerged as the catalyst for Newport's resurgence, single-handedly notching three goals in the second half alone. The score was leveled at a nerve-racking 10-10 in the dying moments of the fourth quarter.
As the final siren pierced the air, it was abundantly clear that these two teams were locked in an unyielding battle of wills. Overtime was inevitable, and just when you thought one extra period was taxing enough, brace yourselves for an unprecedented spectacle: an astonishing four overtime periods to determine the ultimate victor!
Indeed, the spectators at PJ Lynch were treated to a marathon of epic proportions. The valiant women athletes battled it out for an additional four grueling overtime periods, each moment pregnant with the promise of a game-deciding goal. And, in a moment of pure elation for Footscray's faithful, that pivotal goal finally came, securing their place in history as the victors of this astonishing contest
UNDER 16 GIRLS
In a season marked by its unorthodox nature, the U16 girls competing in the U18 Women's lacrosse tournament displayed remarkable growth and development. Despite the absence of a formal U16 girls competition, the spirited clash between the Williamstown Women and Footscray showcased their tenacity on the hallowed grounds of PJ Lynch Reserve.
Right from the opening whistle, Williamstown Women charged ahead, establishing a commanding five-goal lead by halftime. Spearheading this relentless charge was the indomitable Chelsea Patrick, who netted three goals in the first half. She found ample support in the form of Sophie Coram and Imogen Hall, both of whom contributed two goals each.
However, Footscray wasn't about to surrender without a fight. Anika Mason and Hannah Mannix emerged as pivotal figures in sustaining their team's hopes, with Mason adding two goals to her tally, and Mannix, along with teammates Rosie Gaden, Ruby Regan, and Stella Olsen, each finding the back of the net.
In a display of unwavering strength, Williamstown Women proved their mettle as Chelsea Patrick continued her dominance, ultimately tallying five goals by the end of the game. Not to be outdone, Sophie Coram and Imogen Hall maintained their impressive form from the first half, each closing the match with a total of three goals.
The supporting cast for Williamstown Women was equally influential, as Erin Artajos, Poppy Emini, Amelia Smith, and Darcy Butler all chipped in with a goal apiece. The final scoreline read in favor of Williamstown Women, as they were crowned the U16 Girls Premiers, triumphing over Footscray with a decisive 15-6 victory. This season may have been untraditional, but it was undoubtedly one that these young athletes will cherish as a pivotal chapter in their lacrosse journeys
UNDER 18 WOMEN
In the exhilarating Under 18 Women's Grand Final, the field was graced with the lacrosse stars of tomorrow. As the opening act for the senior Women's Finals, this match proved to be nothing short of spectacular. With an astonishing eight players from the U18 Victorian team gracing the turf, it was the Williamstown Women who fired the initial salvos, surging to an impressive 8-3 lead by halftime.
Chelsea Patrick, maintaining her exceptional season form, notched up four goals in the first half, while the lightning-quick Miriam Suares Jury dominated the midfield with relentless pace. Despite the valiant efforts of Camberwell's Rhyannon Bergin, Ruby Pagliaro, and Lily Harris, they could only partially stymie Williamstown's midfield onslaught.
Much to the delight of the Williamstown faithful, the second half played out in similar fashion. Miriam Suares Jury and Chelsea Patrick continued their scoring spree, each finishing the game with five goals apiece. Sophie Coram added two goals of her own, and Olivia Thompson, Amelia Smith, Imogen Hall, and Ava Dorinko all contributed with one goal apiece.
In the end, Williamstown Women closed out the game with authority, prevailing over a resilient Camberwell team with a final score of 18-7. This Under 18 Women's Grand Final showcased the undeniable talent and determination of these young lacrosse athletes, setting the stage for an electrifying future in the sport.
UNDER 14 BOYS
In a thrilling showcase of junior lacrosse prowess, Williamstown emerged as the champions in the U14 Boys competition, triumphing over Eltham this past weekend. This contest, marked by its constant twists and turns, witnessed a formidable first-half surge from Williamstown. Remy Butler and Tyler Smith kicked off the action with a goal each in the initial two quarters, setting the tone. However, it was Ry Cordell-Garnsworthy who truly stole the show in the second quarter with an impressive three-goal spree, solidifying a commanding 8-2 advantage for Williamstown at halftime.
Yet, Eltham displayed an unwavering spirit and refused to succumb to defeat. Following the halftime break, the Panthers roared back into contention, outscoring the Seagulls 6-4 in the latter half of the match. Unfortunately for Eltham, the early lead established by Williamstown proved insurmountable, as they ultimately fell short with a final score of 12-8 at the sound of the siren. This gripping clash exemplified the tenacity and skill of these young lacrosse athletes, leaving spectators on the edge of their seats until the very end
UNDER 16 BOYS
In a gripping showdown that kept fans on the edge of their seats, Williamstown and Eltham/Brunswick refused to yield an inch in their unforgettable Grand Final clash. Undoubtedly, these two juggernauts had dominated the entire home/away season, but they reserved their finest hour for the championship bout. The initial signs were clear as day, as a nail-biting 2-1 lead favored Williamstown after the first term, foretelling the intensity of this contest.
Eltham/Brunswick roared to life in the second quarter, spearheaded by the astonishing three-goal performance of Oscar Page. With a slender 7-6 advantage at halftime, they hinted at their determination to claim the title. The third quarter echoed the sentiments of the opening, as Williamstown responded with a 2-1 quarter victory, locking the score at 8-8 as the clock neared three-quarter time.
The fate of the entire season hung in the balance as the final quarter commenced. It was in this moment of truth that the Williamstown leadership trio, comprised of Josh Mannix, Archer Flaherty, and Flynn Crawford, rose to the occasion. With each of them netting two goals in the closing term, and Blake Radford adding another to the tally, Williamstown surged ahead. Despite the valiant efforts of Oscar Page, who put up a spectacular six-goal performance, and Jake Statham's commendable three-goal contribution, Williamstown ultimately ran away with the game. With a final scoreline of 15-10, they were rightfully crowned as the champions of the U16 Boys competition, sealing their place in the annals of sporting history.
UNDER 18 MEN
In a thrilling conclusion to the under-18 Men's season, both teams refused to yield in what was a nail-biting back-and-forth battle. Much like their female counterparts in the U18 category, this game showcased the abundance of budding talent, with a remarkable 14 players from the Williamstown and Eastside squads having represented the victorious U18 Victorian team earlier in the season. This serves as a testament to the impressive caliber of top-age junior athletes within the association.
Out of the gate, in this amalgamation of talent from five different clubs, it was Eastside who drew first blood during the opening quarter, securing a 1-0 advantage at the end of the first period. However, the Williamstown Seagulls were far from willing to concede defeat. The second quarter witnessed a resurgence from the Seagulls as they seemed to hit their stride, slamming in four goals compared to Eastside's solitary score, resulting in a 4-2 lead. Leading the charge for Eastside were Liam Barnes and Mathew Arnold, while Angus Menzies and Jake Mannix notched up crucial doubles for Williamstown.
A scoreless but incredibly tense third quarter set the stage for a climactic climax to this contest. With everything hanging in the balance and the momentum slightly swaying toward Eastside, it was the collective resilience of Williamstown that ultimately proved decisive. In the second half, Josh Gordon struck twice, and Lachlan Stephenson added another goal for Williamstown, a valiant effort only matched by Eastside's Joshua Nicholls, who netted a pair of goals, and Gus Ratje, who contributed a single goal.
Williamstown clung to their lead in the final minutes, ultimately securing victory and the title of Under-18 Men's champions in what was a heart-pounding showcase of emerging talent and unwavering determination.