'Underdogs' beat nemesis

GLEN DAWKINS -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 6:58 AM ET

Over the years, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que., has fashioned an impressive record for itself in youth women's water polo.

In 12 of the last 13 years, its teams have struck gold in the national youth women's championships. The lone blemish on that record was a silver medal from two years ago.

But put the DDO girls in a pool with their provincial rivals CAMO from Montreal and they suddenly become the underdog. Yesterday, the underdog had its day.

"We usually have a mental block with them," said DDO all-star Katie Monton, who scored two goals as the DDO No. 1 squad downed their provincial rivals 5-3 in the final of the Speedo Youth Women's National Water Polo Championships yesterday at the Pan Am Pool. "But we worked together and we overcame it."

'BIGGEST RIVALRY'

Marisa Kelley added two goals and Joelle Bekhazi scored one for DDO. Aicha Bouharira, Marie-Chantel Patry-Proulx and Joannie Morisseau replied for CAMO, which led 2-1 at the end of the first quarter but fell behind 3-2 at halftime on goals by Kelley and Bekhazi. CAMO pulled even in the third quarter but DDO pulled away with two goals in the fourth.

"By far, this is the biggest rivalry (in water polo) in Canada," said DDO head coach Michael Faubert, his hair still wet after diving into the pool following the final whistle to celebrate with his players. "It's always intense and very physical. I'm just glad we won.

"It's never easy with CAMO. They are an extremely well-coached team."

"When we beat them, it feels good," said Monton.

Faubert was named the championship's top coach while DDO goalie Marissa Janssens was honoured as the Most Valuable Goalie. All-star Emily Csikos of the bronze medallist Calgary Renegades was named Most Valuable Player while Bronwyn Fehr of Manitoba's Bushido was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the host club.

"This is a great way to start off as a (head) coach," said Faubert, in his first year at the helm after serving as an assistant coach and playing 10 years with the DDO men's team.

Monton, Bekhazi and teammate Stephanie Valin were all important members of the Canadian junior national team that finished sixth at the World Junior Championships in January in Perth, Australia. Their experience seemed to rub off on their teammates.

"They are just a joy to coach," said Faubert.

Rounding out the all-star team were CAMO's Julie Belanger, Carmen Eggens of the Pacific Storm, Azure Benesh of the Regina Piranhas and Ann Nisiewicz of Guelph.

FIFTH PLACE: Bushido beat the Ottawa Titans 9-5 to finish fifth, a big improvement over their eighth-place seeding following their placing last year.

"We went from eighth to fifth," said Bushido head coach Dave Hill. "What more can you ask for?"

TRAINING CAMP: A Youth Women's National Team Selection/Training Camp will be held today and tomorrow at the Pan Am Pool. From this camp, 30 players will be selected for the Youth National Training Camp, this summer in Montreal.

"Tournaments like this give a very good indication of where players are," said Youth Women's National Team head coach Alison Davis, a keen observer at this weekend's championship.


Videos

Photos