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By Jim Stewart
Elyssa Camilleri has had a golden summer as a member of the provincial box lacrosse team.
The five-sport Caledon resident arrived home from Saskatchewan last week as a two-time National Lacrosse champion after Team Ontario captured the gold medal in Regina.
Team O defeated Team BC 5-2 in the championship final and Camilleri said she was pleased by her team's performance in the grueling eighth game of the tournament.
“We were more prepared for Team BC than we were in the round robin game that ended in a 5-5 tie. When we play BC, there's always something that happens. We have a rivalry with BC and Alberta. At least this time, we had the bye into the finals and BC had to play an extra game against Alberta. We had some extra time between games so we were able to do yoga before the championship game. We also had time to meet as a team in the lecture hall at the University of Regina. We were asked by our coaches to name the person we were playing the championship final for. It was pretty emotional at times, it brought the team together, and it made every goal we scored against British Columbia even more meaningful.”
Selected as the Caledon Citizen's Student-Athlete of the Week earlier this Spring, Camilleri continues to demonstrate her athletic prowess on the national box lacrosse stage for Team Ontario.
The high-scoring, durable attacker tallied big goals and notched significant assists during the arduous eight-game tournament campaign in Saskatchewan.
In Game 1 versus Team Saskatchewan, Camilleri scored the first goal of the tournament to set the pace for the provincial team. She finished the game with two goals in Team O's narrow 5-3 win over the host team.
Camilleri demonstrated her play-making abilities in Game 2 versus Team Alberta by earning two assists in Team O's convincing 8-4 victory.
In Game 3, she tallied two goals and an assist in an impressive 7-0 shutout of Team Nova Scotia.
In Game 4 versus BC, Camilleri notched a key assist and was pleased by her team's effort to “come back from being down 5-1 and tying BC 5-5 to move us into first place.”
She scored another goal in Team O's 13-0 win over Manitoba in Game 5 and added a goal and an assist versus Team Quebec in a 7-0 win in Game 6.
Camilleri, who is fluently bilingual, found her language lessons “came in handy as they opened doors for me.”
“I was able to speak French with the Quebec players during and after the game. They were so nice.”
In Team O's 27-0 romp over a short-handed, injury-plagued squad from New Brunswick in Game 7, Camilleri added a goal and an assist as Team O finished the round robin with an easier game and earned a bye to the championship final.
In addition to winning a gold medal, the Grade 10 St. Michael Catholic Secondary School student-athlete noted how much she enjoyed “staying in the University of Regina dorms.”
“We were in rooms of four and I got to know my teammates from all over the province. Our players came from Orangeville, Waterloo, Guelph, Barrie, Burlington, Ottawa, Whitby, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Halton Hills, Nepean, and Caledon. Eventually, we were all gathered in one room and bonded as a team. There was a great social element, too, because we stayed together in the residence's dining room and we had time to visit with other players across the country.”
In addition to socializing with and competing against the best female players in the country in Saskatchewan, Camilleri also played defence this summer for the Brampton Excelsiors 17U team. The legendary lacrosse franchise finished fourth in the Ontario championships and Camilleri was the only female on this strong rep team.
Upon her return to St. Michael CSS this month for her sophomore year, the Honor Roll student plans to play Varsity Basketball in the Fall (along with Elite Lacrosse with the Excelsiors), to play Varsity Hockey in the Winter, and Varsity Rugby in the Spring (along with playing for the Rock Stars Lacrosse team). It's a busy slate of athletic activities, but Camilleri is clearly engaged in her high school community.
She enjoys her classes at St. Mike's and disclosed to me at our meeting at Tim Hortons in Bolton that her post-secondary plan is to “earn a NCAA Division 3 scholarship to a good academic school where she can get her athletic therapy license and play lacrosse at a high level.”
Camilleri's national and international athletic and academic aspirations have been supported by her community.
Elyssa's mother, Benthe Camilleri, expressed her gratitude to a range of sponsors.
“We're proud of her and her team's hard work at the country's biggest tournament. We'd also like to thank a series of companies and individuals who have sponsored Elyssa, including Kinetico Quality Water, Clear Blue Water Solutions, Premier Contractors, Casa Morra Homes, Brampton Minor Lacrosse, Mane Society Salon and Spa, Bill Paranaby Team Realtor, and the Fines Ford Dealership.”
The old adage “It takes a village to raise a child” is very pertinent in the life of this impressive student-athlete from Caledon and Elyssa Camilleri has proven to be a surefire investment based on her series of athletic and academic triumphs in the last two years.
Post date: 2023-09-06 19:54:01
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