No silver lining for lacrosse

Queen’s finishes medalless for the first time in four years

Disappointment in the OUA finals has become common place for the women’s lacrosse team. They’ve won the silver every year since 2005, losing gold to the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks.

This year marks a shift in the winds, though. The Western Mustangs won gold after beating the Golden Hawks, who won silver, and Queen’s ended the playoffs without a medal, falling 16-10 to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in the bronze medal game.

Head coach Pat Bolland said he expected much better results after the additions made to the team during the off-season.

“Our team had improved through new recruits, we had the highest number of first year players of any team in the OUA,” he said. “We had the ability to add speed to several key positions and, quite frankly, I thought we were going to have better results at the end of the season.”

Bolland said the team’s youth didn’t negatively impact them down the stretch and will help them improve in the future.

“By the end of the season all the girls were at pretty much the same level,” he said. “These girls demonstrated desire, and desire doesn’t go away in one season or because of one game. They’re going to come back next year stronger, faster and better.”

The Gaels finished third in the regular season, their lowest finish since 2004. Bolland said it was a result of the league’s growing parity.

“The overall quality of the league improved, which made for great games and close games. You just can’t win them all.”

Player-coach Lisa McLaughlin said the results were due to parity rather than overconfidence from a team that had won silverware every year for half a decade.

“I don’t think there was overconfidence,” she said. “I think it was pretty disappointing for all of us. We improved a lot over the course of the season, and it’s given us a vengeance to come back with next season.”

Co-captain Kalyn Bolland, Pat Bolland’s daughter, said losing to Western in the semifinal, putting the Gaels out of contention for a medal five-peat, put them on a low for the bronze-medal matchup with the Varsity Blues.

“It was hard for all of us to lose to Western because it did mean that all of us who had gone to the final for four years didn’t get to go,” she said. “We totally respected Toronto as a team, they’d had a bad game [against Laurier] the day before and we didn’t play hard enough to pull it out in the bronze-medal game.”

With a largely unchanged roster going into next season, Kalyn Bolland said missing out on a medal will increase the team’s drive.

“It’ll make us play at our level and not back down from that,” she said. “It’ll make us want it more and try it harder. We know the competition, we know the other teams are getting better, and we know we have to compete next year at that high level.”

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