Ross Royals work overtime for field hockey title

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – The Ross Royals had to work overtime Monday to keep the District 4/10 high schools girls’ field hockey crown.

The Royals needed two goals in the second half of a 15-minute overtime to slip by the Guelph CVI Green Gaels 3-1 in the final at the University of Guelph’s Varsity Field.

Ross entered the final having won each of their D4/10 games this season – all eight in the regular season and two in the playoffs. GCVI had six wins, a loss and a tie in the regular season and two playoff victories.

“Being 8-0 didn’t make it any easier because even our win in the regular season against them was 3-2,” Ross coach Cisca Campolongo said. “Both teams scored and there were lots of runs on both sides so there was no way this was going to be an easy game and they proved that.”

Sarah Taylor scored both goals for Ross to give the Royals their second consecutive and ninth overall league title.

“There was lots of talent and just fantastic field hockey to watch,” Campolongo said of the final. “It was kids playing the game the way it was meant to be played. It was really good.”

Kaleigh Boyd had opened the scoring for Ross four minutes into the game when she connected from just off the east post.

That goal stood as the only one of the game until Amy Pike tied it for the Gaels with 14 minutes to go in regulation time.

Taylor’s goals came two minutes apart early in the second half of overtime.

“She’s put in lots, especially at the start of the season, and then she had a lull,” Campolongo said of the Grade 10 student. “She creates lots of opportunities and has lots of opportunities so it was a deserved set of goals for her given how many other chances she had.”

Taylor finished D4/10 play with 16 goals this season, nine in the regular season. Boyd scored 10 times with seven of the goals coming in the regular season.

The result denied the Gaels their first ever league title in the sport. Pike finished as the only GCVI player to score against Ross as she netted both goals in the regular-season meeting.

Both teams advance to the two-day CWOSSA championship tournament at Kitchener’s Woodside Park that starts Wednesday and wraps up Thursday.

“Unfortunately, CWOSSA always sends kids to OFSAA and they medal and that makes it one of if not the most difficult one to get through,” Campolongo said. “This is a group that is going to compete better than we ever have done before so we are kind of aiming to make it on to Day 2 and do that for a change as opposed to bowing out on Day 1.”

Ross will be in a pool with District 6/11 champion Bluevale Knights of Kitchener and District 6/11 third-place finisher Sir John A. Macdonald Highlanders of Waterloo while GCVI will be in a pool with District 8 champion Resurrection Phoenix of Kitchener and District 6/11 runner-up Southwood Sabres of Cambridge.

The Royals are to play Sir John A. Macdonald at noon and Bluevale at 2:30 p.m. while GCVI is to play Southwood at 10:45 a.m. and Resurrection at 3:45 p.m.

Top two in each pool advance to Thursday’s crossover semifinals that are to go at 10 a.m. The championship game is slated for Thursday at 1 p.m.

CWOSSA schools will enter this year’s OFSAA championship tournament having won the provincial title each of the past seven years. Bluevale won it last year while Resurrection won it 2010 to 2012 and 2014 and 2015. Sir John A. Macdonald won it in 2013. St. John’s-Kilmarnock near Maryhill won it from 2006 to 2009. The OFSAA title had never been won by a Guelph school.

This year’s OFSAA tournament is to be held in Burlington Nov. 2 to 4.