Late Goal Helps Thunderbirds Hand Vikes First Loss of Season

VICTORIA – A rainy game that seemed destined to end with a third-straight tie between the UBC Thunderbirds and Victoria Vikes took a late turn on Saturday, as UBC’s Margaret Pham scored off a penalty corner to lead the Thunderbirds to victory at the UVic Field Hockey Turf.

The two teams opened the season with a pair of 1-1 ties in Vancouver, their first time facing off since UBC stole a 3-2 shootout victory from the Vikes at last year’s nationals in Victoria. Saturday’s game was another heartbreaker for the Vikes, who move a game back of UBC (3-0-2) in the standings at 2-1-2.

The weather didn’t do either team any favours. The downpour that started early in the morning continued throughout the game, making the field tough to navigate and slowing down the pace.

“It was a little bit wet,” said Vikes head coach Lynne Beecroft with a laugh. “A little bit slow as far as I was concerned because you can’t move the ball around.”

Pham’s goal, the result of a net-front scramble in the 62nd minute, came off of a penalty corner and put a mark on what had otherwise been a terrific afternoon for Vikes keeper Larissa Piva. In a game that saw constant back and forth, Piva and UBC goalkeeper Gabriella Switzer stood out.

“I think our goalie made some really great saves,” said Beecroft. “We were unfortunate not bury a couple of chances that we had on them but they obviously had way more penalty corners so they could have had more goals in that respect.

“We’re going to come out with a little more intensity tomorrow and give them a run for their money.”

The two teams will hit the pitch again at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, as the Vikes get a chance to even the season series. With three games to look back on, UVic will be looking to build on the lessons they’ve picked up and turn the tables on the Thunderbirds.

“They did a really good job of marking off the angles of our passes and I think we have to do a better job of that,” said Beecroft. “We have to be tougher on the ball because they’re physical on us when we receive it so we either have to learn how to learn.”

Victoria            0  0 – 0
UBC               0  1 – 1

UBC – Margaret Pham, PC, 62′, 1-0 UBC

VIC – Larissa Piva 70 MP, 1 GA
UBC – Gabriella Switzer 70 MP, 0 GA

VIC – Emily Wong (26′), Kathleen Leahy (70′)
UBC – None