Beecroft named Canada West Coach of the Year

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By Ali Lee, 

(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes had four players named Canada West All-stars following the final regular season field hockey game between Calgary and UBC. Vikes head coach Lynne Beecroft was honoured as the Canada West Coach of the Year for the fourth time in her 31-year career. Following a goal differential count after UBC’s two wins this weekend, Oct. 18-19, over Calgary, the Vikes finished second overall in the Canada West and will take the No. 3 seed entering this year’s CIS championship in Toronto.

Third-year Vikes Amanda Kurianowicz, Kathleen Leahy and Rosie Beale were named to the all-star list, while rookieKristina Walters-Shumka was also given the nod.

Vikes head coach Lynne Beecroft was named the Canada West Coach of the Year for the fourth time in her 31-year career. This season Beecroft’s squad lost out on a second-straight conference title due to goal difference but boasted a 5-1-2 record with only six goals against. Beecroft has garnered 11 CIS national championships for the Victoria program but has won the Canada West Coach of the Year award only three previous times (1990, 1994 and 2002).

The Vikes had an undefeated pre-season tour against Yale, Harvard and Brown and with four Canada West All-Stars this season, the Vikes know they will have stiff competition at nationals against three-time defending champions, UBC, and hosts, Toronto. This fall the Vikes found success against their mainland rivals, UBC, with two 1-1 ties, a 3-1 loss and, most recently, a 4-1 victory. The Vikes’ last two national championships won were in 2008 and 2002 and following Victoria’s 2013 Canada West championship win and CIS silver medal, Beecroft is hoping this year is her year to get the Vikes back in golden form.

“Coach Beecroft has done a fine job this year with our team having many new players and it is nice to see her recognized by her coaching colleagues with this important Canada West distinction,” said Victoria Athletic Director Clint Hamilton.

Calgary native and strike Kurianowicz has had no trouble finding the back of the net for Victoria. The third-year striker scored seven goals this season including a hat trick against Calgary on Oct. 5 and two goals in the 4-1 win over UBC on Oct .12. Kurianowicz lead the conference in scoring for the majority of the season and is easily the fastest and most potent forward Victoria has on their roster. Able to score and assist, Kurianowicz has also been critical defensively, intercepting transfer balls and tackling back to midfield.

Third-year defender and Victoria native Beale has been one of the most consistent defensive contributors for the Vikes. The Claremont Secondary grad has been pivotal in distribution from the backfield and is the Vikes’ top hitter on penalty corner set pieces. Amongst an already strong core of defenders, Beale has lead her team from back to front in both communication, tackling and sparking attack. Beale’s fitness, foot speed and never-give-up attitude makes her one of the most important defenders on the pitch, while her deceptive hits have been a big part of the Vikes’ attack and ability to generate scoring opportunities.

Midfielder Leahy is the only current Vike on the Canadian national women’s team. The third year has brought her international experience to the fold, providing strength no matter what part of the pitch she is on. Leahy’s composure on the ball, deception in distribution and communication on the pitch has given the Vikes the stability they have needed in midfield. The Oak Bay Secondary grad is a critical part of the Vikes’ penalty corner unit and despite scoring only one goal this season, has been key in assisting several of Victoria’s goals this season. On the side of her national team training, Vikes commitments and school work, Kathleen is regularly volunteer to coach her old high school team and is a committed umpire in the high school league.

First-year defender and Victoria native Kristina Walters-Shumka has stepped into the Vikes back line as a veteran player. The Claremont Secondary grad has been key to the Vikes allowing only six goals this season. Walters-Shumka has shown her offensive awareness, overlapping and distributing under pressure, while defensively her ability to intercept and tackle has kept the Vikes out of trouble. This season the Science major joined her sister Annie Walters-Shumka, a Canada West All-Star from 2013.

Victoria umpire Gillian Horgan was honoured as the Canada West Umpire of the Year. Horgan entered the Canada West season fresh off international umpire duties at the FIH World League Round 1 in Guadalajara, Mexico from Sept. 11-14. Horgan umpires three matches, including two tight affairs between UBC and UVic, and has brought a consistent performance to each game. Horgan is known for her strong communication with the players and ability to anticipate advantage to encourage play. As a director of the island’s umpire organization, Horgan is constantly involved in umpire mentorship and education, while she simultaneously continues her personal pursuit in international-level officiating.

ALL-STAR TEAM.

Four Thunderbirds, all current Canadian national team players were honoured as conference all-stars including last year’s conference MVP Rachel Donohoe, conference leading goal scorer Hannah Haughn, fifth year Poonam Sandhu and Logush. Stand-out defender Beale, Vikes leading scorer Kurianowicz, national team member Leahy and rookie Walters-Shumka received the nod for UVic. Calgary’s all-stars included speedy midfielder Rice, defender Jess Britton and Frisch.

Following is a list of the 2014 Canada West Field Hockey All-Stars (in alphabetical order of their last names).

Rosie Beale, Victoria
Jess Britton, Calgary
Rachel Donohoe, UBC
Alicia Frisch, Calgary
Hannah Haughn, UBC
Amanda Kurianowicz, Victoria
Kathleen Leahy, Victoria
Lauren Logush, UBC
Janelle Rice, Calgary
Poonam Sandhu, UBC
Kristina Walters-Shumka, Victoria

The UBC Thunderbirds and Victoria Vikes now move on to the CIS Championship on October 30 to November 2 at the University of Toronto in Ontario.

Complete list of 2014 Canada West Field Hockey Awards winners:
Player of the Year: Alicia Frisch, Calgary
Goalkeeper of the Year: Alicia Frisch, Calgary
Rookie of the Year: Lauren Logush, UBC
Student-Athlete Community Service: Janelle Rice, Calgary
Coach of the Year: Lynne Beecroft, Victoria
Umpire of the Year: Gillian Horgan

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