Junior Lacrosse move up a tier 0
Jessica Burtnick Multimedia Journalist The Strathmore Venom Junior B lacrosse team has only won one game since making the jump from third to second tier, but head coach Andrew Buchanan says the team isn't discouraged.
Lacrosse season is nearly over, but new Lacrosse Coach Andrew Buchanan is already looking forward to next season.
"It's been tough," he said. "We lost our first game of the year by one goal, to the top team in the league.
"Ever since then, we've only won one game, but every game's been by only two or three goals."
Strathmore's Junior B team made the move from third to second tier this season, in large part due to Buchanan's urging.
Confident in the players' potentials, he wanted to push them to the next level.
"It's a big jump to make," he acknowledged, "but there hasn't been a program in town before this that pushed kids to the level they should be at.
"These kids have it in them."
The Junior Venom players range from as young as 16, often playing against 20-21 year olds. But despite the scores, they aren't discouraged, and it isn't unusual for them to gain four or five-point leads on the opposition.
"Offensively, they're showing a lot more character. They're a lot more confident driving to the net, they're sticking up for each other out there, and they're not playing scared anymore.
"Now, they need to learn how to play a full 60 minutes and finish games," said Buchanan.
But he believes it's just a matter of time, and what the team lacked in structure at the start of the season has made an about face.
Buchanan has high expectations of his players. He's instituted consequences for missed practices, and went back to basics, focusing on team systems and discipline.
"Discipline was a huge issue with these guys before I came. They didn't really understand how to play as a team. and the team would fall apart.
"(Now) my goons are keeping it together. It's a huge change, and I'm proud of the guys for that."
Buchanan hopes the change will attract players from outside of Strathmore. Ultimately, he'd like to create a definitive lacrosse program in Strathmore, so local products aren't lost to other teams.
"Our record hasn't been great so far. but within the next year or two we'll be in this level, no problem," he said.
"This is a long term goal of mine. I want to make it a top level club in Strathmore."
Buchanan is also starting up a U19 field lacrosse team, slated to start training in August.
For more information about U19 field lacrosse opportunities this summer, contact Coach Buchanan by phone at 403-200-3685, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.