Jr. Gulls’ 14U girls team creates history in St. Louis
History was made over Presidents’ Day weekend in St. Louis as the San Diego Jr. Gulls’ 14U girls team won the St. Louis Gateway Cup tournament – the first-ever tournament win for a Jr. Gulls girls team.
And the team did it playing up a division against 16U clubs.
Ask head coach Alex Morrison what he thinks of the milestone, though, and he says capturing the banner is simply icing on the cake.
“We started this program last season with one team of girls aged 9-12,” said Morrison. “This year, having two teams (14U and 12U), we wanted to give the girls an opportunity to compete and be proud of their accomplishments. For this team to not just win a tournament, but truly develop and grow as hockey players throughout this season, they have been winning all along.”
In St. Louis, Morrison said the team had a certain vibe all weekend that culminated with the championship victory on Feb. 19 at the McKendree MetroRecPlex.
“There was never a mindset of complacency throughout the weekend,” said Morrison. “We kept talking about being the younger team, the underdogs (our girls, with one exception, are all 2004 birth years), the 13U team playing in 16U. Not until the last few seconds of the one-goal game did it feel like the tournament championship was possible.”
Morrison noted that while the tournament title was a team win, it couldn’t have been possible without two players in particular.
“We are very lucky to have two extremely talented goaltenders that bail our team out time and time again when mistakes are made,” Morrison said. “Destiny Provencio and Ella Park were outstanding that weekend and were the biggest reason that our team was in a position to win.”
In addition to Provencio and Park, the Jr. Gulls are comprised of Malia Morrison, Judy Meyer, Rebekah Wolfe, Emily Kurth, Sara Snyder, Sydney Sylvester, Emma Tasevski, Kylee Shannon, Brogan Gallavan, Sandra Fabela and Mia Ramirez.
Behind the bench, Morrison is joined by assistant coach Chris Wolfe.
Team managers are Meighan Gallavan and Jennifer Wolfe.
At the end of the day, Morrison said his team is big on team chemistry, and he expects that to be an even bigger factor next season.
“With a few exceptions, our group of girls is willing to get to know their teammates,” said Morrison. “We have bonding activities for them, and especially on trips like this one to St. Louis, we have other events scheduled that help them really care about one another, which translates to their performance on the ice. They really do look out for each other.
“For example, on this trip, all of the team took a trip to the St. Louis Gateway Arch and to an NCAA Division I women’s game between Lindenwood and Syracuse.”
And while the 2018-19 season is still in the distance, making plans to be better next season and certainly at the forefront for Morrison and his crew.
“Our girls qualified for the Pacific District tournament (held the second week of March in San Jose),” Morrison said. “We hope that it was a great learning experience for this mainly first-year (Minor) team, and that next year, these girls will have a chance to win that tournament.”
— Matt Mackinder
(March 26, 2018)