VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s field hockey team never gave up despite going down in the fourth minute to the UBC Thunderbirds, the seven-time defending U SPORTS national champions, on Sept. 15 in Vancouver. The Vikes trailed by two at half time but a pair of goals from two first years, Sam McCrory and Erin Dawson, brought Victoria level.
The schools also gained a point each in the standings for the Legends Cup, the new rivalry series between the athletic programs. It is the first point for the Vikes after the T-Birds gained wins in women’s soccer and women’s rugby earlier this month.
“I honestly don’t think we played poorly in the first half but we just didn’t capitalize on our chances,” said Vikes head coach Lynne Beecroft about going down in the first half. “In the second half we pressed and pressed and got opportunities and we actually scored.”
UBC’s Poonam Sandhu, in her debut as head coach, got off to a perfect start, as her T-Birds controlled possession from the opening whistle before scoring in the fourth minute as Abbey MacLellan knocked home a loose ball in a goalmouth scramble to put UBC up 1-0.
Victoria’s best first-half chance came in the 21st minute when fifth year Lindsay Cole fired a shot just over the crossbar from the top of the circle.
The Vikes continued to build momentum. After second-year Vikes keeper Robin Fleming stopped a spinning back-handed shot from UBC’s Emily Martin, Victoria earned three corners in a two-minute span. On the second of the three, Vike Anna Mollenhauer’s opportunity from the left side forced Thunderbirds ‘keeper Rowan Harris to make a left pad save.
UBC went on the offensive after the Vikes’ third corner. T-Bird midfielder Thora Rae raced up the right side and passed the ball across the face of the goal to Niki Best who one-timed the ball into the net in the 26th minute and double UBC’s lead to 2-0.
In the second half, the Vikes got on the board in the 52nd minute when rookie forward Sam McCrory didn’t even hesitate to rifle a penalty stroke top shelf on UBC’s Harris.
Just seven minutes later, the Vikes struck again. First-year Vike Erin Dawson got the slightest of touches to redirect the ball just across the UBC goal line after fifth year Delaney Booker’s off-paced cross found its way to the open Dawson. The game was level at two an remained that way until the 70-minute whistle blew.
“I was very, very pleased with the first years,” added Beecroft. “We did continual rotations of our first year kids and I don’t think we ever missed a beat when they went out there. The two words we used today were courageous and hard work and that’s what they showed today. They worked really hard and you can’t ask anymore from a first year.”
“Emily Wong was also incredible for us in the middle of the field and Anna Mollenhauer created so many opportunities for us with her individual elimination skills. Our fifth years were also very good leaders today and our first, second and third year kids were just so courageous and worked hard.”
Both teams will play again Sunday morning at 11 a.m., at Wright Field.
VIC 0-2 – 2
UBC 2-0 – 2
4′ – UBC – No. 19 Abbey MacLellan, FG – 1-0 UBC
26′ – UBC – No. 6 Niki Best, FG – 2-0 UBC
VIC – Robin Fleming, 70 MP, 2 GA
UBC – Rowan Harris, 70 MP, 2 GA
17′ – UBC – #15 Izzy Fraser, GC
38′ – VIC – #13 Lindsay Cole, GC
45′ – UBC – #15 Izzy Fraser, YC