The junior Sylvan Lake Yetti lacrosse team didn’t have the start to their season they were hoping for. Despite the tough start, Coach Peter Bryenton sees potential in his young squad.
“They lost both games, but it was against two really solid teams,” Bryenton said. “We are 0-3 to start the season but it was an uphill battle, because those three teams were in the top of the league last year. We were competitive in all three games – we just came up a little short.”
The Yetti managed to stay in each game, however they were often playing the games short on players.
“Discipline has been a bit of a problem,” Bryenton explained. “If we learn to keep our cool and stay out of the penalty box, we will be fine.”
Bryenton attributed the team’s struggles with the penalty box to “youthful enthusiasm.”
“With that comes a lot of speed,” he said. “We can out-run other teams, and are great on the fast break. We need to make sure we aren’t panicking from the pressure. With young players, there may not be as much poise as with veteran players. Once they get comfortable with the junior game, we will be able to use our speed to our advantage.”
Speed is the number one advantage the Yetti can use, going forward throughout their season.
“We have the speed, we just sometimes under pressure don’t move the ball,” Bryenton said. “We need to keep our poise, pass it to someone who is open and move it up the floor. In junior lacrosse, the other team can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the ball carrier. They are testing to see whether we will cough it up. Up to this point, we have been.”
Despite the three losses, Bryenton said that support from the community has been fantastic and that being in the new NexSource Centre has been an added bonus to team, which was forced to play out of Red Deer last year.
“The very first game was a great game – even though we lost,” he said. “The crowd was into it and we have had a lot of support from the people here in Sylvan Lake. It was a good feeling on the bench and they really enjoyed being in their own building.”
The Yetti looks to capitalize on their home-floor advantage.
“Moving forward, we are working on moving the ball up the floor under pressure,” Bryenton said. “We are working on situations where we are double and triple teamed. We are also working on our composure to make sure we aren’t beating ourselves by taking too many penalties. Essentially, you have to make sure you are playing with a lot of energy, but still under control.”
Playing with composure can be a tall task in lacrosse, which is an extremely physical game.
“The fact is that it is a rough game and you are going to get hit,” Bryenton explained. “You can’t take offense to that and lose your composure. You need to enter the game knowing that it will be extremely physical and you want to be on the aggressive end of that physicality. You are playing physical but are calm on the inside.”
Bryenton hopes that the community will continue to come out to the NexSource Centre to support the Yetti.
“We appreciate the support of the fans and also our announcer Khris [Lindbergh],” Bryenton said. “He has helped us create an atmosphere in the barn with the music and announcing.”
The Yetti’s next game is on May 10 at 8 p.m. against the Red Deer Renegades.