Vikes down Bulldogs in pre-season opener

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Aug 24,2014(ISN) – VICTORIA – With five new recruits the University of Victoria Vikes women’s field hockey team, under the guidance of head coach Lynne Beecroft, earned a 3-2 victory over the Yale Bulldogs in New Haven, Conn. The pre-season win puts the Vikes off to a good start for their three-game tour on the East coast, which will later include games against Harvard and Brown.

Third-year speedster Amanda Kurianowicz was the first to score, while rookie Kristina Walters-Shumka and returnee Lizzie Yates also got on the board for the victory.

“It was a really good start to the season,” said Beecroft, who enters her 31st season as head coach this fall. “I am confident that the girls will continue to work hard and build on this performance throughout the tour.”

From the opening whistle the Vikes showed Yale they were a strong, determined and quick team. An early penalty corner won gave the Vikes the opening go-ahead goal. Defender Rosie Beale’s strike on goal rang off a goal post but Kurianowicz was there to clean up the rebound for the 1-0 lead.

The play began to level out mid-way through the first half but freshman Jenna Dhillon opened up a great passing play where the ball eventually found fellow rookie Stefanie Langkammer’s stick. Without hesitation the Cowichan High grad crossed the ball to the stick of a waiting Yates, whose one-time sweep found the mesh stick side of the goalie.

The 2-0 Vikes lead was maintained entering the break but Yale were able to turn around their offence in the second half. The Bulldogs were the first to get on the board in the second half, cutting the Vikes’ lead to one but a huge push back lead by Claremont graduate Kristina Walters-Shumka kept the visitors in the lead.

Walters-Shumka, fresh off a Junior National team camp, showed her individual skills, dribbling to the top of the circle and unleashing a reverse stick shot that put the Vikes up 3-1 with twenty minutes left on the clock.

The Vikes continued to lay on the attacking pressure, resulting in a few more scoring opportunities; however, it was the home team that next managed to break through to earn their second goal of the match. With Vikes keeper Larissa Piva forced to stand tall between the pipes, the Vikes earned the 3-2 victory and will now refocus and relocate to Boston for games against Harvard and Brown on Aug. 25 and 26, respectively.

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