Women’s rugby looks to upset top-10 Dinos, Pandas

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By: James Nielsen, Vikes Communications

September 24, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s rugby team continue their 2013 Canada West season.

This weekend hosting the No. 8-ranked Calgary Dinos, Sept. 27 at 5 p.m., followed by a Sept. 29 match against the No. 2 ranked Alberta Pandas at 11:30 a.m. Both matches will take place at UVic’s Wallace Field.

This weekend’s home stand comes on the heels of last weekend’s 18-15 thriller that saw the Vikes defeat the Lethbridge Pronghorns for the first time in over a decade. A last-minute penalty kick by second-year fullback Kara Galbraith sailed through the uprights to secure the Vikes victory.

The new-look Vikes will look for a repeat performance from third-year prop Jaiden Parhar, who led the Vikes with two tries in Friday’s victory. Head coach Mark Hall, in his second season at helm of the Vikes women’s rugby program, will look to refine several aspects of his squads game leading up to this weekend’s pair of games.

“We want to work on our defense this week,” said Hall. “We want to take care of the ball as well—not lose it in contact situations.”

Fourth-year flanker Laura Crowe-Hutchon, who opened the scoring for Victoria in their opening conference match, will sit out this weekend due to an upper body injury. High-profile Canada Under 20 recruit Jess Neilson will also sit out once again as she nurses a lingering injury that has delayed her appearance in a Vikes uniform. With several key players missing, Hall will look to a mix of veteran and young players to fill the void created by injuries.

The Vikes first face a Calgary squad who are coming off a lopsided 62-17 loss to the Pandas. The No. 8 ranked Dinos received tries from Samantha Crandell, Sarah Adriano and Elizabeth MacKinnon. The 2012 Canada West points scoring leader Katie Scotland converted once in the loss.

The Vikes will turn around to host the Pandas, also their second match of the weekend, on Sept. 29. Alanna Fittes will be the Panda player to watch as the third-year back led her team in their 62-17 victory last weekend, scoring four tries and kicking six converts.

The Vikes kick-off their first match against Calgary Sept. 27, 5:00pm at Wallace Field. Their Friday game will be followed by a Sept. 29 11:30am tilt against Alberta, also at Wallace Field. For full schedule and scores visit govikesgo.com.