Sydney Fraser, 17, was named MVP of the women’s provincial championship lacrosse tournament gold medal game, her earthy performance helping New Westminster defeat Port Moody 7-5 on July 10 in Coquitlam
Sydney Fraser wasn’t exactly aiming for the stars as a 17-year-old called up the New Westminster Salmonbellies for the stretch of the BC Senior Women’s Box Lacrosse League 22-and-over campaign.
“I just didn’t want to be the worst player on the field,” said Fraser, who is entering Grade 12 at South Kamloops High School. “That’s what crossed my mind.”
Fraser was named MVP of the Women’s Provincial Championship Tournament Gold Medal Game, her earthy performance helping New Westminster defeat Port Moody 7-5 on July 10 in Coquitlam.
“I saw her cleanly hit two players and she let them both down,” said Savanna Smith, coach and owner of the Salmonbellies. “It was one of those things where you were like, ‘Damn it, girl. I don’t want to get hit by you. They were both adults that she knocked down and got the ball back from. Without her it would have been a much harder game for us to get the win, she came with some really big plays.
Fraser was, in fact, the best player on the court in BC’s title tilt — and MVP honors are just one of many accolades won this summer.
The 5-foot-9 menace, a product of the Kamloops Minor Lacrosse Association, won gold with the Fusion West Lacrosse Club at the first annual Futures Box Lacrosse World Cup, which ended July 7 at the ‘Loyola University of Maryland.
“There’s been a lot of lacrosse for her in the last two months where she’s excelled,” said Smith, who also coaches for Fusion West, the Lower Mainland’s high performance club. “I wanted to show that. Also, you don’t always hear about someone on the inside having all of these accomplishments at such a young age, especially a female athlete like her who is also Indigenous. To be able to do that is another model for our young girls and our aboriginal young people.
Fraser did double duty at the US Box Lacrosse Association National Championships, which concluded Aug. 7 in San Jose, Calif.
She helped midget girls Fusion West to a silver medal and also struggled in the women’s ranks, winning a bronze medal with the Storm Selects, a team comprised of Aboriginal Canadian players.
“I think it’s actually really important to see that if you have that heritage you can play in a whole bunch of different leagues,” said Fraser, who expects to play for BC at the Indigenous Games. of North America by 2023 in Nova Scotia. .
“It’s important that people see where you can go with this sport.”
Smith encourages Fraser to aim for a spot on the Haudenosaunee team that will compete in the 2024 U20 Women’s World Lacrosse Championship.
“Lacrosse was a gift given to Indigenous peoples by the creator,” Smith said. “It was a gift given to us to entertain the creator, but more importantly, for medicine. As Native people, if we have a lacrosse stick in our hand, walk into a field, or we go to the box, it’s supposed to be medicine for us. There’s a lot of traditional ties and cultural elements with it.
Fraser credits her older brothers Nathan and Bryan — both KMLA graduates who played for Junior B Kamloops Venom — for helping her get used to playing against boys.
“There were a few girls on out-of-town teams, but I was the only girl in Kamloops for my teams until this year,” Fraser said. “Personally, I didn’t think it was that bad because I grew up with my two older brothers. Playing with the guys, I always had to be super tough and strong. I rely a lot on the physical aspect of my game, especially since I started playing against women.
Fraser’s goals include playing lacrosse in the field as part of a scholarship through the ranks of the NCAA in the United States.
“I’m not really picky about school, I just want to keep playing lacrosse and get a good education,” she said.