MASSENA — The bus ride from Fort Covington to Massena was a relatively quiet one. One could hear a pin drop. That is, until Salmon River girls lacrosse coach Ron LaFrance addressed his team.
“I said, ‘I don’t care what we have to do. I just want the ball in the net,’” LaFrance said. “The only way to keep them off the board, is to keep getting on the board.”
That’s exactly what the Shamrocks did.
No. 1 Salmon River defeated No. 2 Canton in the Section 10 girls lacrosse championship, 16-5 at Mike Nicholas Field on Thursday.
The Shamrocks (16-0) capped off their undefeated season with a title while dealing with injuries and other issues. Players have filled new roles all over the field, and there have been constant adjustments for Salmon River.
Ariyah, LaFrance’s daughter, is a key component on attack who is currently in a hospital undergoing medical procedures in Burlington, Vt.
“We did this for you,” LaFrance said.
The offense was led by Paisley Cook (seven goals, two assists) and Winter Jock (four goals, three assists). The two combined for six of the Shamrocks’ seven goals to create a 7-4 lead for the Shamrocks at the half.
The two have been playing together since they were young, and have built chemistry that remains profound on the field today.
“We knew we had to come in confident. Us two, we’re always together and we’re there to keep each other up,” Cook said.
Cook scored seconds into the game off the opening draw. Karah White then received a pass from Joryan Adams and tucked in a goal to jump out to a 2-0 lead at the 19:56 mark.
Canton’s Lindsay Fileatrault then cut the deficit in half for the Golden Bears (13-4, 12-3) a little over a minute later with a goal. Once the Shamrocks held a 5-1 cushion, back-to-back goals from Canton kept the Golden Bears within reach.
Cook and Jock righted the ship.
“We just told the girls to keep their heads up and we got through it together,” Cook said.
Jock assisted Cook with a goal to earn her 100th point of the season and put her squad up 6-3.
“It’s really exciting, and I’m really proud of it, but (I’m) more proud of our team and all the hard work they’ve put in,” Jock said. “I probably wouldn’t have gotten this far without them.”
H1: 1:43 — Wynter Jock with another goal in traffic. That’s point no. 101 of the season for the sophomore midfielder.Salmon River leads 7-4. pic.twitter.com/iuTbJVGzDa— Evan Wheaton (@EvanWheaton) June 17, 2021
The game featured a key sophomore midfielder matchup between Jock and Canton’s Etta Coburn. Coburn has been an explosive offensive talent for the Golden Bears all season, and was awarded Section 10 girls lacrosse MVP after the game.
Draws, midfield battles, time on attack and defense — Jock and Coburn dueled the whole game. It was a dance between two all-around, premier playmakers.
“Honestly, Etta is a really good player,” Jock said. “It was a matter of trying to figure out the draw, outsmart the other players.”
LaFrance drew up a game plan to contain Coburn. The midfielder always had a shadow, and she was well-defended. Coburn’s production on attack was limited to two goals and one assist.
“We frustrated her all day,” LaFrance said. “She got a couple goals, and that’s expected. But we did what we set out to, and that was to slow her down.”
Haley Stevenson scored two goals for the Golden Bears. Hannah Reed netted Canton’s only goal of the second half at the 9:32 mark.
H2: 20:08 — Wynter Jock scores on a free position to give the Shamrocks a 5-goal cushion.Salmon River 9, Canton 4 pic.twitter.com/tmPJmokLhk— Evan Wheaton (@EvanWheaton) June 17, 2021
While both offenses paced well on attack, Salmon River’s defenders were able to break up good looks to help Kimora Swamp at the net.
Kendall Jock and Adams scored a pair of goals apiece for the Shamrocks. On attack, Salmon River pushed the ball and took advantage of its opportunities.
“I told the girls today we needed to play a near perfect game to pull this off, and we did,” LaFrance said. “We held a very high-powered offense to five goals.”
As Salmon River continued to pull away, LaFrance told his team an 8-goal lead was nothing. The defense, however, remained a force for the rest of regulation as the running clock kicked in with three minutes remaining.
“Our defense today was amazing,” LaFrance said. “I give all the credit to Canton (and) their offense. We stalled them and did what we set out to, which was to win the Section 10 crown.”