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By Natalie Wise, Vikes Communications

October 17, 2012, VICTORIA, B.C. – This weekend the University of Victoria Vikes women’s field hockey team will travel to Vancouver to take on reigning CIS champs and current Canada West champions the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. The T-Birds have an 8-point lead over the Vikes with an unbeaten conference record of 6-0.

The Vikes head into the weekend with a Canada West record of 3-2-1 and played their last conference games two weeks ago against the University of Calgary Dinos. Alleviating some of the pressure of the upcoming showdown against the powerhouse T-Birds, the Vikes have already qualified for the CIS Championship in November with their Oct. 6 win over the Dinos.

Demonstrating great fortitude the Vikes have been able to eke out several last-second goals in their previous victories and will look to once again capitalize on their “never say die” mantra. The last time the Vikes met the T-Birds the UVic women went 0-0 with scores of 4-1 and 2-1 in favour of the visiting Thunderbirds.

Vikes’ fourth-year midfielder Kyla Kirby (Victoria, BC), alongside rookie striker Amanda Kurianowicz (Calgary, AB) and third-year forward Kayleen van der Ree (Courtenay, BC), lead the team in scoring and will hope to net a few more against the titanic T-Birds. Defensively, the Vikes will rely on fifth-year veteran Carly Krestanovich (Surrey, BC) to lead the backline.

The Thunderbirds’ immaculate record speaks for itself and they have not lost a conference or CIS game since the beginning of last year’s regular season. Boasting several past and present national team players the strength of the T-Birds’ roster will be difficult to contend with, midfielder Hannah Haughn leads the Canada West in scoring with Boston College-transfer Katherine Gillis close behind.

The Vikes will travel to Vancouver to play the Thunderbirds in a double-header weekend Oct. 20-21, both games taking place at 1:00 p.m. on UBC’s Wright Field.