The Ladner Pioneers won't be sneaking up on anyone this season.
A year ago plenty of uncertainty surrounded the storied West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association franchise following a mass departure of players and coaches. A near two-decade run near or at the top of the league standings looked to be coming to an end. However, Bob Taylor stepped in to take over the coaching reins and guided a young team to an unexpected regular season championship before bowing out in the playoff finals to the Tri-Cities Bandits.
Now, the Pioneers are looking to take the 2012 campaign one step further and represent B.C. at the President's Cup national senior "B" championships in Sherwood Park, AB.
"We know everyone is gunning for us and the expectations are we are the team to beat," said Taylor, who leads the Pioneers into their regular season opener tomorrow night (8 p.m.) against Langley at the Ladner Leisure Centre. "I really believe this will be a stronger team than last year."
What has Taylor feeling so optimistic is the club welcoming some key players back in the fold, including left-handed sniper Corey Williamson. In fact, Ladner's opening night roster will feature eight lefties
"That really is a luxury," continued Taylor. "Last year we had three so that is a significant change. We are also going to be better prepared. I think we had seven or eight players out for practice a week before the season started last year. This time we had 25."
25." The team has lost captain David Yee to work commitments, however standout Quinn Waddington is ready to take on the leadership role. Nathan Clare, Scott Boyle, Travis St Germain, Cam Taylor and goaltender Kevin Hill are among the key returnees.
"The only disappointing thing is we don't have any graduates from the junior 'A' Islanders out and we're not sure why," added Taylor. "(Western Lacrosse Association) teams have just started their training camps so there is a chance we still could see some players come our way once they start making their cuts."
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