Ross Royals, Orangeville to clash in field hockey final

GUELPH – The Ross Royals and Orangeville Bears locked down their spots in Monday’s District 4/10 high school girls’ field hockey final with shutout victories in Friday’s semifinals at Varsity Field.

Defending champion Ross blanked the Centre Wellington Falcons of Fergus 4-0 while the Bears prevented the final from being an all-Royals affair with a 1-0 win over the Centre Dufferin Royals of Shelburne.

Lauren Brulotte had two of the goals for Ross while Sarah Taylor and Sascha Woolcott added single goals and Acacia Douglas-Henke picked up the shutout.

Sarah Innes netted Orangeville’s goal in the first half and Carissa Potton collected the shutout.

For Ross, the Royals will be looking for their fourth consecutive D10 crown.

“It’s pretty neat that we’re on our way to the fourth one,” Ross coach Cisca Campolongo said. “We sort of set that as a goal right from the start of the season because I think it is really neat that there is some kids on this team that potentially can only know winning with field hockey when we spent 20 years not winning. I just find that an amazing piece that they could have and walk away from.”

It was actually longer than 20 years as the current title streak for Ross started in 2016 and was their first D4/10 crown since they took league honours in 1991. That one was their fifth in six years.

“In that time, I had been coaching 13 years prior to us winning and we’d been in the final eight times. (I thought) maybe I should stop coaching, that sort of thing,” Campolongo said. “But it’s such a great game and the kids are so great to work with that you don’t want to give it up. When they were working so hard you just knew that at some point it was going to happen and now it’s just one after the other. I’m OK with that after being on the losing end for so long, it’s nice to be on the winning end.”

Ross finished this year’s regular season atop the league at 6-0-1 while Orangeville was third at 4-2-1. Ross defeated Orangeville 4-0 Oct. 9 on the final day of the regular season.

Ross found its first-place finish a little unexpected.

“It was surprising because we have a lots of new rookies but those new rookies came with a lot more talent than we’ve ever seen and have picked up the game quickly despite not having previous experience,” Campolongo said. “The neat thing, too, is this is my first season I give kudos to my defence and the goalie that nobody has scored on us yet in D10. Tournaments is a different story, but we won’t talk about that.”

Ross also scored a league-high 19 goals during the regular season. That’s down from the 26 they scored last year when they surrendered one goal in the regular season and two in a 4-2 championship-game win over the Guelph CVI Green Gaels. They haven’t yielded a goal in the regular season since a 2-1 win over GCVI Oct. 3, 2018. That’s a stretch of 10 consecutive league games.

“Certainly, it’s great to know that they are really solid back there,” Campolongo said. “To me, offence starts with great defence and having that rock-solid back is making the front be able to do their job.”

Orangeville has a longer title-less streak that the Bears will be trying to break as they haven’t won the championship since 1984 when they claimed their second in a row and second ever.

The D4/10 champion advances to the CWOSSA championship tournament slated for Wednesday and Thursday at Woodside Park in Kitchener.

“CWOSSA the last two years have gone well as we made it to the second day,” Campolongo said. The first day of the CWOSSA tournament is for round-robin pool play while the second day features the semifinals and championship matches.

“We’re trying to work harder and press harder and develop our game better,” Campolongo said. “The Kitchener league is so strong and so dominant. Those teams go on to win OFSAA so it’s really hard to break through.”

No D4/10 team has captured the CWOSSA title since the St. John’s-Kilmarnock (SJK) Eagles of Maryhill won it in 2002 when they were in the league. They’ve since switched to the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association (CISAA).

Ross won the CWOSSA crown in 1987 while Orangeville took it in 1982, the year before the D4/10 league was formed.

Either SJK or a CWOSSA school based in Kitchener or Waterloo has won every OFSAA championship girls’ field hockey tournament title since 2006.

 

  • Guelph Sports Journal