Riot rolling early

With a mix of mostly old and a little new, the Red Deer Riot should make plenty of noise this season in the junior women’s division of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League.

Courtney Mastel of the Red Deer Riot and Jena Iuliano from the Calgary Sabrecats battle for a loose ball during the Riots 6-2 win on Sunday at the Kinex.

Riot 6 Sabrecats 2

With a mix of mostly old and a little new, the Red Deer Riot should make plenty of noise this season in the junior women’s division of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League.

“I think we have the potential to be No. 1 in the province,” head coach Harold Albrecht said Sunday, following his club’s 6-2 win over the Calgary Sabrecats at the Kinex.

“My experienced girls know how to set up the play, and that’s who I ordinarily rely on. And our four new girls supply the speed and the incentive, so the veterans can sit back and set up plays while the rookies are busting through for us.”

Whatever, the Riot are faring reasonably well, with Sunday’s victory giving the club a 4-2 record.

The Riot settled for silver in the 2008 provincials and the coach is confident he has another championship contender one year later, thanks in part to the camaraderie on the squad.

“The thing is the girls all get along so well, and that’s the key for us,” said Albrecht. “And it’s not just during games. They go out and do social things together, too, so there’s good cohesion.

“This team is pretty good, the girls are solid. They play well together and got along really well, which is nice.”

The Riot are led by veterans Deanna Hume, who has scored 10 goals this season, Janelle and Janessa Sullivan, Hayley deBeaudrap and Leah Boucher, who just returned from an injury.

“Deanna is our top scorer when she hits the twine,” said Albrecht, with a chuckle. “She shoots a lot but she really likes hitting the goalies.

“But I have several scorers. That’s the nice thing about our team — we’re fairly deep in that department.”

Alexis Monk, who has sniped four goals this season, and Paige Gillespie-Swettenham, who also has four goals and suffered a broken thumb last week, are two of the four newcomers who have shown plenty of offensive upside.

And they’re also open to Albrecht’s style of coaching.

“As the new girls get used to me and what I do on the bench and how I talk to them, they’re starting to see what it is that I want from them,” said Albrecht. “I explain to them that it’s important to watch the game as they’re standing on the bench. They’ve only had a few years of playing at the midget girls category, and up here the play moves a lot faster. Things happen so much quicker and the girls are a lot bigger, too. They have to get prepared for that and the thing is, they’re all coming along.”

And Albrecht has been impressed with the fashion in which his older players have aided with the rookies’ development.

“The veterans are helping out with the new girls by showing a good, calm demeanour, which I like,” said the Riot bench boss. “My veteran girls at one time used to be pretty antsy and they’d get a lot of penalties. This year they’re not taking penalties, which is great, because now they’re understanding that it’s better to sit back and realize, ‘I’ll get another time to meet that person’. They’re passing that on to the new girls and that helps.”

Janessa Sullivan fired two goals and picked up an assist in Sunday’s victory, while deBeaudrap, Monk, Boucher and Janelle Sullivan also scored for the Riot.

Red Deer was a 7-6 loser Saturday at Sherwood Park, where Janessa Sullivan tallied twice and deBeaudrap, Hume, Monk and Desiree Lalonde also connected.

Contact Greg Meachem at gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

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