By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
September 17, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s field hockey team will travel to Calgary for their opening Canada West games this weekend, Sept. 21-22. As hosts of the 2013 CIS/FHC national championship.
Victoria aims to still prove their right to qualify despite an automatic host berth. In their way stands the Calgary Dinos and defending national champions, the UBC Thunderbirds.
Following a three-game tour of Boston in August, the Vikes came together to defeat Ivy League competitors Yale, Harvard and Dartmouth College. Forward Amanda Kurianowicz established herself as the most lethal attacker, pocketing six goals in the series. Since then, the Vikes have played several Vancouver premier league games and exhibition matches and remain undefeated.
In 2012, the Vikes were 3-4-1 in regular season play and at the 2012 CIS/FHC championship were 0-5, finishing fifth overall. This season, 14 players return for their run at UVic’s 12th McCrae Cup, with the last Cup being hoisted in 2008 at UVic. The Vikes hope to relive the home win again and earn a better seeding in the tournament as a result of a good conference performance. With only three teams in the Canada West, there will be only one additional spot at the four-team championship set for Oct. 31-Nov. 3.
All members of the Victoria squad will have their eyes on winning their first national championship including captain and fifth-year standout Kyla Kirby. Kirby’s dynamic play in the central midfield spot will be key for the Vikes, who boast only one national team member relative to UBC’s eight. As for the Dinos, they may lack international experience but the squad gains new leadership as Henre Meyer takes over as head coach for Jenn Swagar, who spent six season with the Calgary squad.
The Vikes will look towards defenders Rosie Beale, Alanna MacDonald and Andrea Jones to anchor the back line, while keepers Sheriden Goodmanson and Larissa Pivawill share duties between the pipes. Through the midfield, national team member Kathleen Leahy along with Kirby will be the focals to generate attack and control the center of the pitch. Up front the speed and tenacity of Kurianowicz has already proven effective and paired with the talents of fourth-year Kayleen van der Ree and rookie Emily Bennett, the Vikes are sure to boast success from front to back.
In addition, this season Vikes head coach Lynne Beecroft enters her 30th year leading the women’s field hockey program. Beecroft, a two-time UVic Sports Hall of Famer, has guided the Vikes to all 11 of their CIS national championships. Beecroft is joined by assistant coach Krista Thompson, in her 17th season with the Vikes, who spent the summer coaching with the Canadian national team program.
This weekend the Vikes will travel to face the Dinos, who were blasted 7-1 and 7-0 by the Thunderbirds last weekend. The Dinos talent is stacked up the middle as goalkeeper Steph Petrowitch, central defender Courtney Duggan and center striker Keara Chicquen structure the majority of Calgary’s play.
The Vikes will face the Dinos in Calgary on Sept. 21 and 22 at 12:00 p.m. before turning around to host the Thunderbirds on Sept. 28-29.
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