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Contenders come to the fore after 19U NCL Crossover
The 19U western and eastern conferences finally came face to face at the NCL Crossover in Surrey, B.C. this past weekend. When the dust had settled, after 56 games in four days, several teams had staked their position as favourites to win the National Championship this May.
The most impressive performance of the event has to go to the 19U women’s team from CAMO. CAMO came into the tournament at 7-0-0 and proceeded to roll off four more victories to improve to 11-0-0. The most concerning part for CAMO’s future opponents, is the manner in which the CAMO club recorded these victories. The Montrealers average margin of victory in the four games was almost 16 goals per game, and no opponent scored more than six goals against them. Pacific Storm was seen as the club most likely to give CAMO a run for their money, coming into their matchup with a perfect 11-0-0 record. Unfortunately for Pacific Storm, they had no answer for Axelle Crevier in the first quarter. Crevier would tally four of her six goals in the first frame, to stake CAMO to an early 5-1 lead. The margin would grow to 7-1 by the middle of the 2nd quarter and that is simply too large of a deficit to make up against CAMO. The final score would be 17-5. Axelle Crevier led the way for CAMO all weekend, scoring 20 goals in CAMO’s four games, but she is just one of the many threats that are found up and down CAMO’s lineup. Yasmine Rachid, Floranne Carroll, Chayma Hlanadif, Zoé Guèvremont, Daphne Guèvremont, and Miriam Lizotte all scored at least three goals in one of CAMO’s games. That level of scoring depth, combined with CAMO’s defensive prowess, and the goaltending ability of Clara Vulpisi, will ensure it’s going to take an incredible effort to knock off the defending 19U Women’s National Champions this season.
On the 19U Men’ side, the whole weekend seemed to be building towards a Sunday showdown between CAMO and Pacific Storm. CAMO and Pacific Storm didn’t exert the same level of dominance the 19U women’s team from CAMO showed, but they did clearly place themselves at the top of the field. Each team played five games before their match on Sunday, and each team went 5-0-0. Pacific Storm received tough challenges from both the Toronto Golden Jets and Dollard Black squads, before putting both teams away in the 2nd half. A key five goal run against DDO Black was the difference in turning an 11-11 nail biter, into a 19-15 victory win for the local boys. CAMO had similar tough games against Fraser Valley and Saskatchewan, and like Storm, used 2nd half surges to put their opposition away. The Saskatchewan-CAMO game was almost a copy of the Storm-DDO game, as CAMO also used a five goal run to turn what was a 14-13 game, into a 19-13 win.
The CAMO – Pacific Storm match was set to swim off at 8:30am on Sunday morning, and as the most anticipated match of the weekend, more than a few people arose a little earlier on Sunday morning then would normally be expected. From the get go, it was a back and forth affair that more than met the expectations of those in attendance, and those watching along at home. For the length of the game, no team would muster more than a three goal lead, and there would be eight tied scores along the way. Both teams would rely on their big guns in the game, as the goal scoring was clustered around a few players. Jonathon Plourde, Alexis Reiher, and Félix Poliseno would score all but three of CAMO’s goals, while Reuel D’Souza, Gareth Jones, and Robert-Martyn Fraser would score all but two for Pacific Storm. The theme of the game would be CAMO constantly trying to reel Pacific Storm in, but not quite being able to surpass them. CAMO’s only lead of the game came at 3-2 in the first quarter; from that point on, CAMO simply could not get over the hump. After trailing 6-4, CAMO tied it at 6, after trailing 11-8, they tied it again. Trailing 15-12 in the 4th quarter, CAMO came back once again, with a powerplay goal from Poliseno at 2:27 of the 4th quarter knotting the score at 15. Amidst all these comebacks, Pacific Storm was showing resiliency of their own. On all three of these occasions, Storm would retake the lead within two minutes, denying CAMO a chance at the lead. Reuel D’Souza fired home the tie-breaker when the score was equal at 15, with a powerful shot into the corner from 8 meters out. After a CAMO turnover with 10 seconds to play, Pacific Storm just needed to run out the clock to record the victory; but the game still had a little bit of excitement left. CAMO would steal the ball at midpool, and with two quick passes had the ball right in front of the Storm keeper. Marko Jovanovic was game to the task though, and his save preserved the 16-15 victory for Storm.
This Week in the NCL
The NCL focus shifts to MLWP water polo this weekend, as the 2nd eastern conference crossover goes from Montreal this weekend. The first crossover was held at U of T in early December and once again, all 15 men’s and women’s team in the eastern conference will gather for a full weekend of games. Only ten eastern teams will earn spots at Senior Nationals, so the Montreal crossover will be crucial in determining which teams make the cut. The western conference men’s entrant into Senior Nationals will also be determined this weekend when Saskatchewan travels to Manitoba to conclude their six game series. One win for Saskatchewan will clinch their place in Montreal.
Please see the NCL schedule for exact times and locations of these weekend’s games.


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