VICTORIA – Gabrielle Senft and Jess Neilson each put up a pair of tries on Sunday morning as the Victoria Vikes closed out the regular season with a 48-10 victory over the Lethbridge Pronghorns at Wallace Field.
The Vikes finish the season 3-1 behind only the undefeated Calgary Dinos while the Pronghorns finish at 0-4. The win ensures that the Vikes will play the University of Alberta, who they beat earlier this season, in the Canada West playoffs.
“I’m very proud of our girls for being patient and for building team tries,” said Vikes head coach Brittany Waters. “There’s still lots of areas to work on and tighten up going into Canada West playoffs and into nationals so we’re continue to do that but great effort—we were able to get in all of our subs so good effort from all of the girls who got in today.”
Carolyn McKee led Lethbridge with a pair of tries in a strong performance. Post-game, Waters was impressed with Lethbridge’s effort despite the loss.
“It’s a great game, a great feeling to take into Canada West but credit to Lethbridge—they played great today,” said Waters. “They put a lot of pressure on our attack, they spread wide on defence and they made us work for our tries so credit to them.”
Victoria opened and closed out the game with a strong effort, getting a try from Sya Trafford early before adding two more from Gurpreet Dhaliwal and Neilson. Neilson hit the convert on Dhaliwal’s try to bring the score to 17-0 at the break.
The half saw both teams regroup and come out eager but it would be the Vikes to strike first once again, this time off a try from Angela Thompson. Fifth-year Vike Chelsey Minter chimed in soon after with a hustle try, breaking through a group of Pronghorns to get over the line.
Neilson made a tough kick after that play but her next convert would be much easier, after Senft ran it right up the middle for her second try of the night. McKee followed with a second dive into the try zone to help Lethbridge close out strong.
Next up for the Vikes are the Canada West playoffs, where they’ll have a chance to win their second banner in a row. Heading into the tournament, with a good idea of what to expect from their opponents, Waters is confident in her team.
“We won last year and we want to repeat again this year going in as that first berth from Canada West for nationals would be great,” said Waters. “We have Alberta first so we’re really just focusing on that game first then we can focus on who we’re going to meet in the finals.”
VIC: 17-31: 48
LETH: 0-10: 10
UVic Try – Angela Thompson (convert missed) – 22-0
UVic Try – Chelsey Minter (Jess Neilson convert) – 29-0
LETH Try – Carolyn McKee (convert missed) – 29-5
UVic Try – Gabrielle Senft (Jess Neilson convert) – 36-5
UVic Try – Jess Neilson (convert missed) – 48-5
LETH Try – Carolyn McKee (no convert) – 48-10