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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

September 25, 2012, VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s field hockey team will host traditional power houses, the UBC Thunderbirds, in Canada West action this weekend, Sept. 29-30. Both the Vikes and T-Birds are tied in standings with a 2-0 record.

The Vikes women are led by head coach Lynne Beecroft, in her 29th season, and have already been off to a good start for their 2012 season. With eleven new faces in the line up, the Vikes women have pulled off pre-seasons victories over Ivy League schools Harvard and Brown University, as well as their opening series agains the Calgary Dinos.

Rookie central defender Annie Walters-Shumka (Victoria, BC) has proved to be a key addition to the squad, anchoring the back line along side co-captains Carly Krestanovich (Surrey, BC) and Kyla Kirby (Victoria, BC).

This weekend, the Vikes will return Canadian junior national team member Kathleen Leahy (Victoria, BC), who was away competing at the Junior Pan American Championships. Leahy and the Canadian side captured a silver medal and a qualification spot to the 2013 Junior World Cup.

In their opening weekend, Sept. 15-16, the Vikes traveled to Calgary to face off with 2011 CIS silver medallists, the Dinos, and returned home with two victories and ultimately, six points. A 3-1 victory on the Saturday, followed by a 1-0 victory on the Sunday was enough to put the Vikes on track to earning one of the two berths for the Ontario-hosted CIS national championship.

The Thunderbirds are also entering this weekend with a clean slate of two victories over the Dinos from last weekend. Five returning T-Birds along with three first-years competed with the Canadian team at the Junior Pan American games and they will all make the trip to the island for their first 2012 Canada West game.

UBC boasts strong talent in midfielders Poonam Sandhu and Natalie Sourisseau, both members of the Senior national squad. As well, second-year defender Sara McManus and keeper Bea Francisco will be expected to control the back field. The T-Birds also boast one of Canada’s top recruits in rookie midfielder Hannah Haughn, who competed at the 2011 Pan American Games at the age of 16.

Both the T-Birds and Vikes hold a record number of CIS national championships with the Vikes owning 11 and the Birds with 13. The Vikes and T-Birds will square off on Sept. 29-30 at 11 a.m. both days at UVic’s Field 1.

As part of the University’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, the Vikes will also host their alumni in a friendly game and reception following the Sept .28 game. For more information visit: http://govikesgo.com