No coach. No expectations. Just a love for lacrosse. That’s how MacKenzie Rolland does it.
Rolland and her squad – which she cobbled together with her longtime friends and teammates – won the Cascade Cup in Snohomish, Wash. on July 29. They pulled their team together just five days before the tournament, and were off to Washington to compete against other high school girls.
They didn’t have a coach, and they would be playing some of the best teams in the Northwest and the United States. They just wanted to have fun, and they ended up with a trophy.
“Everyone got equal playing time, and if we needed to work on something, we’d talk about it as a team,” Rolland said. “We’re all really passionate, so it worked out better.”
Rolland is a Surrey girl, born-and-raised in Fleetwood and Cloverdale, and has moved around within the area. She is entering her Grade 12 year at North Surrey Secondary, but admits her youth was spent at Cloverdale Rec Centre.
Rolland and her Cascade Cup team have known each other and played together for a long time. She said it was refreshing to play in a tournament where they could be themselves and bond, admitting that it’s not always like that if you’re trying too hard to be competitive.
“It wasn’t like we were strict, or go for gold,” she said. “The chemistry between the team just grew, and that really reflected well in our game.
“We didn’t really expect anything going into the tournament, so coming out of it with a trophy was amazing.”
Rolland said the team all went for dinner together the night before their final, and they took full advantage of their hotel pool.
In six games, Rolland scored 10 goals. The midfielder also added 14 assists, and her team won three straight playoff games – including the final – after going 1-1-1 in the round robin.
“It was really nice to hold up the cup, kind of felt like we won the Stanley Cup or something,” she said. “That was definitely really fun, when we were all running in and jumping on our goalie.”
Rolland said that, as the only Canadian team in the Cascade Cup, they were having some fun playing up their national pride in front of an American audience.
When Rolland and her co-captain went up for the final game’s coin toss, they yelled out, “Moose!” instead of the traditional “Heads” or “Tails.”
They also never missed an opportunity to end a sentence with, “Eh.”
“They really take the Canadian heritage thing too far,” she said of the Washington crowd. “So, we were really putting it into our game.”
Rolland has had a busy year with lacrosse, traveling to Palm Springs, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Toronto, and San Jose.
She’ll take a couple weeks off before heading back to finish off high school, and then she’d like to lock down a scholarship at an American university and play lacrosse in the NCAA.
“I’m looking for team that I know I can see myself playing with,” she said, adding that her university experience and her education is just as important to her as lacrosse.
“I’m looking to learn and study what I want while playing the sport I love.”
contributing editor for the Cloverdale Reporter