The Victoria Day weekend saw Canada’s finest U16 boys congregate in Saanich, at the Commonwealth Pool, for Water Polo Canada’s U16 National Club Championships. Maple Ridge, and the Haney Neptunes were well represented by six local boys; Sam Remfry, Josh Lampen, Aiden Elphick-Miner and Luke Wallace. These boys play for Fraser Valley WPC, which finished 10th at the tournament. Two ex Neptunes, Nicholas Bruneau and Giordano Marconato play with Pacific Storm WPC, which took the gold medal and the championship for the second year in a row.
Nicholas Bruneau held his own, playing a key role in the Storm’s journey to gold with three goals, one on a five metre penalty shot, and strong defensive play.
Giordano Marconato came prepared and ready to play. He did not disappoint either his team mates, coaches or the fans. Not only did he shut down all comers as hole check, but his twenty goal showing earned him a spot on the all star team. When asked about his opinion on winning his second National Championship, he replied, “It was much easier than last year. This year it didn’t even seem we were in the finals, because all the other games were so easy.”
In the round robin, Storm made easy work of their two opponents, embarrassing Saanich 21 – 1, followed by an equally strong showing against Dollard III (Quebec) winning 26 – 3. The talk in the stands was, the games would only get more challenging and that the boys better stay mentally prepared. The quarter finals saw Storm walk over St. Lambert from Quebec, with a score of 22 – 1. The semi finals against Ottawa was strategically orchestrated by coach Nikola Maric, who won Most Valuable Coach for the second year in a row, and executed by the Storm players perfectly in a 12 – 6 victory. The combined efforts of Storm birthed the team into the finals versus Camo, from Quebec. The finals first quarter saw Camo draw first blood, and for the first time the Storm team looked vulnerable. The end of the first quarter had a 1 – 1 result, and tension could be cut with a knife. As the second quarter developed, Storm took a one goal lead, but half time came and nails started to be bit as the teams fans bellowed back and forth with support for both sides. The third quarter was the turning point and as Storm started to dominate, the Camo crowd went quiet, and knew their hopes were fading fast. In the end, Storm won by a score of 7 – 3, and the 2012 U16 NCC is in the history books.