Tessa Johnston (left) tries to block the path of a Thunderbird forward

The University of Victoria Vikes will have the opportunity to defend their national championship on home turf next weekend.

The Vikes shutout the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds 1-0 on Saturday afternoon at the UVic Field Hockey Turf.

Entering the matchup two points up on the Thunderbirds with two games remaining in the Canada West season, the Vikes needed either two ties or one win to earn the rights to host the U SPORTS national championship.

The Thunderbirds nearly took an early lead in the first when a shot to the back post was nearly deflected in by Sanhpreet Barsa in the opening minutes.

Sara Goodman was quarterbacking the Thunderbirds offence from the back line all afternoon long with brilliant lengthy passes. She also had several shots following penalty corners.

Her first of many great scoring chances came in the first, when she blasted a one-timer at Robin Fleming, but the third-year goalkepper denied her with a diving blocker save.

In the second off another corner, Goodman cranked another shot, but this time Fleming was there to make the kick save.

Scoreless at half, the Vikes best chance came 10 minutes into the third frame when Erin Dawson was whacking away at a ball down low, but freshman keeper Hannah Rumble kept the ball out.

The Vikes built off that scoring chance.

Second-year defender Judy Cristante forced a turnover and raced up the left wing. She centred it for Ashton Aumen, who slapped it through Rumble’s five-hole.

The T-birds kept pushing for the equalizer.

A turnover at midfield led to a three-on-one for the Thunderbirds, but Sophia Berk broke it up with a timely poke check.

The Thunderbirds and Vikes will play out the string on the Canada West season tomorrow at UVic, even though the standings will remain the same regardless of the outcome. Game time is set for 11 a.m. The Vikes now await the winner of the Ontario University Athletics conference to see who their opponent will be at the U SPORTS championship.

VIC – Ashton Aumen  FG, 41’ 1-0- VIC
VIC – Robin Fleming 60 MP, 0 GA
UBC – Hannah Rumble 55 MP, 1 GA
UBC – Ava Aminbakhsh 2 MP, 0 GA

UBC – Thora Rae, GC, 46’