VIKES BLOG: Competing for Canada

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By Kathleen Leahy, Vikes women’s field hockey team

July 15, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – My name is Kathleen Leahy and I play with the UVic Vikes Women’s Field Hockey team, as well as with the U21 and Senior Canadian National Field Hockey teams.

I am about to start my third year at UVic, and I am studying in Kinesiology. So far I have LOVED everything about my time at UVic, but what I love most about being here is the Vikes family. I don’t just mean within my team either (though I couldn’t ask for better teammates), I mean with all the athletes at the school as well as the staff. Everyone is so crazy passionate about Vikes, and we have such a blast supporting each other in our respective events. As for the Vikes Field Hockey Team, they are my second family. I guess that’s what happens when you spend every day running around with the same awesome people! We are currently training on our own and getting ready for our season (which starts in September) as well as another exciting pre-season tour to New York & Boston in August!

While the Vikes break from competition for the summer, the Jr. and Sr. National teams ramp it up. We have had several competitions already, and are looking forward to several more before the end of the summer!

I competed with the U21 National team in a test series against Argentina in May. Argentina’s Senior National Team is currently ranked #2 in the world, and their U21 team has the potential to follow in their footsteps, though not if us Canadians have anything to say about it! We didn’t manage to beat them when they were here in May, but the games were very tight with close score-lines, and one lucky bounce could have changed the whole game. We will see them again in a couple of weeks, as they are in our pool for the U21 World Cup being held in Germany!

The U21 National team also competed in Brampton, Ontario last month, in the Senior National Championships. There we faced several of the Provincial teams, as well as the Guyana National Team who was in Canada at the time. This tournament was a lot of fun, and great competition for us, especially the games we played against the BC team! It is safe to say that BC produces the majority of National Team athletes, which means that when everyone goes back to play for their respective provinces, the BC team is made up almost entirely of current and retired National team athletes! This year was no exception. We met them in pool play and managed to pull out a clean 2-1 win to advance to the final, where, of course, we met them again. This game was very close; both sides really wanted that gold medal! It was tied after 70 minutes of play, and STILL tied at the end of sudden-death overtime! We then moved into a shoot out, and us U21s managed to come away with the win! We wore those gold medals with pride.

Immediately after these Championships, the Senior National team reconvened at the Toronto-Pearson Airport, and we jetted off to Dublin, Ireland, where they drive on the “wrong” side of the road and drink Guinness for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here we played a 3-game test series against Ireland, and finished this series with a 1-1-1 record. During this series I played in my first senior international game and so earned my fist cap!! That was definitely the highlight of the trip for me. We then moved north to Belfast, which is only a 2.5hr drive but technically a different country! So weird for us to wrap our head around when we come from a country as large and vast as Canada. We played a few more matches here against Scotland and Wales, finishing this Irish tour with a 4-1-1 record.

We are now all currently at home in Canada, but there is no sign of slowing down. In ten days I leave with the U21 team to Mönchengladbach, Germany, where the U21 World Cup is being held, July 27th – August 4th.

Stayed tuned with Field Hockey Canada (http://www.fieldhockey.ca) and twitter (@FieldHockeyCan, @FHC_WNT) to see how we’re doing and what we’re up to!!

Auf Wiedersehen for now!

-Kathleen

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