VICTORIA–For the second year in a row, the University of Victoria Vikes women’s field hockey team came up just short in their pursuit of a 12th national championship.
A 2-1 shootout loss to the UBC Thunderbirds in the national championship game put an end to what was another great season for the Vikes. Fifth-year Vike and U Sports All-Canadian Amanda Kurianowicz scored the lone goal in the championship game for the Vikes, who were unable to solve UBC goalkeeper Gabriella Switzer in the shootout.
The Vikes picked up one win and two ties in the round robin portion of the tournament, starting the nationals in style with a 4-2 victory over the Guelph Gryphons. Kristina Walters-Shumka, Cilia van Nierop, Kurianowicz and Lindsay Cole all scored in the second half to erase a one goal Gyrphons lead.
That momentum kept on going in their next game against UBC, a 1-1 tie. Canada West All-Star Rosie Beale opened the scoring but the Vikes were unable to hold off a UBC comeback.
A scoreless tie with Toronto in their final round robin game secured the Vikes a chance to play for the national championship. Canada West All-Star and U Sports All-Canadian Lizzie Yates earned player of the game honours for UVic.
The awards piled up for the Vikes at the tournament. Fifth-year Vike Annie Walters Shumka won the U Sports Outstanding Contributor Award and was also named a Championship All-Star along with Kristina Walters-Shumka and Lindsay Cole.
Kathleen Leahy, Yates and Kurianowicz were all named U Sports All-Canadians at the tournament.
Before earning the chance to prove their worth on the national stage, the Vikes had to get through a difficult Canada West schedule.
The season got off to a great start as the Vikes earned back-to-back ties against the reigning national champion UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver.
Staying on the road, the Vikes travelled to Alberta and picked up two straight wins over the University of Calgary Dinos. The offence broke through for the Vikes in the first game as they won by a dominating score of 5-0. The Dinos hung around in the second game but UVic prevailed by a score of 2-1.
Their first home games of the season didn’t quite go as planned for the Vikes, as they dropped two games to UBC with Kurianowicz scoring the only Vikes goal of the weekend.
Rebounding from those losses the Vikes picked up two more convincing victories over the Dinos to secure second place in Canada West and a spot at nationals.
Three Vikes picked up major Canada West awards. Lynne Beecroft was named the Canada West Coach of the Year in her 33rd season in charge of the Vikes. Emily Wong won the Canada West Rookie of the Year Award and Annie-Walters Shumka picked up the Canada West Outstanding Contributor Award.