ST. GEORGE – Team NB’s female lacrosse team placed seventh at the 2022 Canada Summer Games in Niagara, Ont.
They went into the tournament ranked ninth, pushing through challenging matches to improve their ranking by the end of the games.
“We did a lot of stuff as a team,” said St. George’s Meg Ingalls. They had meals as a team, spent down time together, and even experienced the falls with one another. “You definitely get splashed a bunch.”
Ingalls credits a piece of their success to developing closer bonds with one another.
“When you spend time with your team and really know them, you play better. That was a good thing we had.”
Before the 2021 Canada Summer Games were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Brunswick had not planned to send a female team to compete at the tournament. The 2022 games marked the first time women’s lacrosse was a featured sport.
Team NB ended up sending the team who would make history winning 8-1 against Prince Edward Island in the first ever game of women’s lacrosse at the Canada Games.
Team NB continued to make history as 16-year-old Macey Hatfield from Saint John scored the first goal of the game, making her the first goal scorer in the history of the sport at the Canada Games.
“She had the first goal ever and got a hat trick,” said Ingalls, her proud teammate.
“We were all just so happy,” she added.
The history-making win was one of the first major bonding experiences for the team, acting as a significant source of motivation. Their spirits were high going into the tournament, their win lifting them higher.
The ball from the first goal scored will be entered into the lacrosse hall of fame, according to Ingalls, with her teammate’s signature.
Throughout their 10-day stay in Niagara, the team played seven games, some more challenging than others.
The team struggled through their game against Alberta.
“We lost by a lot,” said Ingalls. “We had expected them to win.”
They played another tough game against Quebec. After triple overtime, Quebec scored with 20 seconds left, winning the game, 7-6.
“It was a really intense, physical game, but fun to play,” said Ingalls. “We were all really tired. There were so many people cheering, it was awesome.”
As a defense player, a highlight for Ingalls was scoring during their game against Alberta.
“I play defense, so the only time for me to get a goal is a breakaway,” she explained. “Even though we didn’t win, I’m still happy with how I played.”
Team Ontario claimed gold, with Team British Columbia earning silver and Team Alberta bronze.
The lacrosse season wrapped up with the Canada Games for Ingalls and her teammates. Nationals are a possibility for them next year, according to Ingalls.
The closest team for Ingalls is in Saint John, which she doesn’t see changing in the near future.
“Not everyone knows about it,” she said.
Introducing the sport to the Canada Games is a helpful, and necessary, step forward, enhancing the awareness of women’s lacrosse across the country.
Despite the commute, she hopes to balance her time to allow herself to continue with lacrosse.