Earlier this month, Mission Mud Dawgs lacrosse players Halle Dhaliwal and Teagan MacNeil returned from Indio, California as champions.
As members of the Fusion West Lacrosse Club grade seven and eight girls’ team, they travelled south of the border to compete in the 2023 Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival on Jan. 14 and 15.
With a daunting eight games over two days and no substitutions, the team emerged victorious in the festival’s largest division.
The ‘2027 A girls’ division featured 32 teams from across North America spread across five pools.
On the opening day, Fusion played three games. The squad defeated LAXUHR 13-0 before losing their next game 7-5 to LA Select and defeating the High Sierra Avalanche 13-1 to close out the day.
With just eight of 32 teams advancing to the playoff round, the Fusion girls needed to win out on Sunday and get some help to move on.
In their final two games of group play, the squad picked up a pair of morning victories, defeating the ADVNC 14U Prime 7-5 and Vortex Elite 6-2.
The team awaited word on their fate and with only 12 minutes until the quarterfinal round was slated to start, they found out they were playing.
Against Rip City Reign in the quarterfinal, it was a battle between two closely-matched teams. The lead teeter-tottered until the teams entered halftime tied. After the break, the Fusion squad imposed their will and style on the game and won 6-5.
With 20 minutes of rest, the girls faced their fourth game of the day in the semi-final against OR Pride. They came out flying, scoring seconds into the contest before running away with the game by a score of 9-1.
The championship game would prove a challenge for the Fusion squad in a matchup with Tenacity Project Lacrosse. Tenacity was undefeated and outscored their opponents 98-8 over their first seven games.
The final was back and forth early with Tenacity showcasing their offensive skill and speed. However, standout defense and saves from goaltender Lauren Leong sparked a go-ahead goal for the Fusion girls.
From there, they locked down the high-scoring Tenacity team. Fusion controlled the draw, the ball and the offence and won 4-1.
Fusion West Lacrosse sent six girls teams and one boys team to the Sand Storm Lacrosse Festival with several Mission Mud Dawgs participating.