By: James Neilsen
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s rugby team wrap up their Canada West regular season Oct. 5 at 11:30 a.m. against the UBC Thunderbirds. The women will be aiming to finish conference play on a high note and finish with a .500 record on home turf, matching their 2010 season record of 2-2.
Last weekend saw the Vikes women drop two in a row to the CIS No.8-ranked Calgary Dinos and the No.3 Alberta Pandas. The unranked Vikes were downed in both games by a large margin, 34-10 and 49-0, respectively. The Vikes have prioritized improving the defensive side of their game, while also striving to maintain more possession of the ball.
Despite a strong recruit class for 2013, the Vikes have competed without several players due to injury including losing Canada U-20 member Jess Neilson prior the season. Fourth-year flanker Laura Crowe-Hutchon also suffered an injury in the opening Canada West game that has kept her sidelined for the past two matches.
Throughout the double-loss weekend, the Vikes regrouped at the half and demonstrated significantly stronger play through the final 40 minutes. Injuries and inexperience proved to be the deciding factor, as several opportunies to get on the board were squandered as a result of unforced errors. Regardless, the Vikes hope to bounce back this weekend to close out their conference play with a win over the 0-3-0 T-Birds..
UBC have also dealt with their own issues this season, going winless on the season as they fell heavily to both Calgary and Alberta, failing to score against Alberta while tallying only five points against Calgary. Both teams are expected to be physical and competitive contenders in an attempt to shed some positive light on their seasons.
The Vikes will host the Birds at 11:30 a.m. at UVic’s Wallace Field.