VANCOUVER – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s field hockey team fell short, 2-0, late in the game to the six-time defending U SPORTS national champions, the UBC Thunderbirds on Oct. 8 at Wright Field. The UBC Thunderbirds (4-0-1) all but locked up the 2017 Canada West Championship with two goals in the 52nd and 64th minute of play to leave the Vikes at a 2-2-1 record.

UBC earned two second half goals from Sophie Jones and Meghan Hayden within a 12 minute span and that decided the game. Thunderbird goalie and Canadian women’s national team keeper Rowan Harris looked every part a world-class stopper, making several spectacular saves in the match. Fifth-year Vikes goalie Larissa Piva was able to match Harris in the first half with several remarkable stops of her own, before being relieved by freshman Robin Fleming in the second half.

“We have seven rookies on this roster today and I am very proud of them,” said Lynne Beecroft, Vikes women’s field hockey head coach after the game. “Someone once said to me you can either win or learn and we didn’t win so we are going to have to learn. That’s our opportunity.”

Piva was forced into action in the 15th minute, when she kicked out her right leg and stopped a missile of shot from Jones off a UBC penalty corner.

Harris replied with a pad save of her own in the 36th minute, when she stoned Vikes rookie Ashton Aumen‘s drive from the top of the circle.

Harris was at it again early in the second half. Vikes defender Anna Mollenhauer made a stunning run down the left wing and fired a sharp angle shot. Harris did well to cover the near post and pushed the ball wide of the goal.

Jones got the ‘Birds on the scoreboard in the 52nd minute. Her fearsome shot off a penalty corner found the back off the net to Fleming’s right.

UBC doubled their lead in the 64th minute when UBC forward Meghan Hayden finished off a beautiful two-on-one spearheaded by fellow ‘Bird forward Abbey MacLellan.

The win gives UBC 13 points for the season, six points clear of the Vikes with three games remaining. A draw or a win for UBC in Sunday’s re-match between the two teams will clinch the Canada West title for the ‘Birds and ultimately hosts and the only spot at the U SPORTS Championship –a new format that will see a best-of-three series with the OUA conference champion. The Thunderbirds and Vikes re-match goes at 11am at UBC’s Wright Field tomorrow, Oct.8.

Victoria        0  0 – 0
UBC              0  2 – 2

UBC – #22 Sophie Jones, PC, 52′, 1-0 UBC
UBC – #14 Meghan Hayden, FG, 64′, 2-0 UBC

VIC – Larissa Piva 35 MP, 0 GA
VIC – Robin Fleming 35 MP, 2 GA
UBC – Rowan Harris 70 MP, 0 GA

VIC – Hannah Craig (GC, 34′)
UBC – Jordyn Faiczak (GC, 24′)