Ali Baggott, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes women's field hockey team can tick off of one of two needed wins to qualify for the 2018 U SPORTS National Championship after a 5-1 win over the Calgary Dinos on Oct. 13 in Victoria. The Vikes put in their first two penalty corner options early in the game and didn't look back.
Stefanie Langkammer tallied twice, while Delaney Booker, Anna Mollenhauer and Leina Dueck each found the back of the net in front of a capacity crowd for the win. The Vikes are now 4-1-2, while the Dinos are 0-4-1.
"Our goals today were to keep our structure and focus on ourselves," described co-captain Langkammer. "Calgary always puts up a good fight so we came in today not knowing what was going to happen and just tried to put our best effort out."
Ingrid Ulrich made several saves in the Calgary net and had several chances steered away thanks to the strength of captain Marion Arnott in front of her. Fourth year Sabrina Wong was pivotal in the middle for the Dinos as the 2015 Rookie of the Year was all over the field offensively and defensively.
"I was more disappointed today," said Calgary head coach Peter Taylor. "We didn't play at the level that we can play. We showed some good things but we didn't bring the level that we should."
The opening minutes of the game saw some good pressure up front from the Dinos. Veteran and captain Arnott established herself early as a defensive anchor for Calgary, whose squad totals eight players in fourth or fifth year.
The Vikes were able to execute on their first two set pieces just two minutes apart. In the 14th minute Booker's efforts in the circle earned the Vikes their first penalty corner. Mollenhauer's sweep hit went untouched in to the bottom corner, stick side on Ulrich, to lift the Vikes 1-0.
Moments later and the Vikes were back at the top of the circle. The same option was put in but this time Ulrich denied the ball from a fully stretched position on the ground. The rebound fell nicely for Langkammer, who calmly flipped the ball up and over for a 2-0 lead.
The Vikes had a third penalty corner chance when Lindsay Cole was interfered with on a near-scoring chance after some strong work down the left side from rookie Vike Stefanie Sajko but the set piece opportunity was denied by Calgary's Sabrina Wong.
In the 20th minute fifth-year Vike Booker was the benefactor of a loose ball just outside the 23-yard-line and the forward was one-on-one heading in to the circle. Ulrich did well to close the space and Booker was forced wide right. The Dinos defence did well to congest the middle when Booker tried to feed it towards the unattended net.
Calgary earned their first penalty corner late in the second half. Lauren Hayes dished the ball inside to Michelle Patterson but the shot was blocked by Victoria's Emily Wong. Patterson quickly fired the rebound to the far post but the ball skipped over Sabrina Wong's stick to keep the Dinos off the board.
Calgary held a few solid periods of possession in midfield through the strength of Meghan Norlander, Sabrina Wong and Melanie Scholz, but were unable to really penetrate the Vikes back line anchored by Judy Cristante, Kristina Walters-Shumka, Mollenhauer and Robing Fleming in net.
"Sabrina played a great game today and was always in the right position," added Taylor. "Marion also had a very good game as well. The players in the middle of the field did some good things. Everyone did some good things but it just wasn't consistent enough."
The Dinos did well to defend several Vikes penalty corners in the second half. Sabrina Wong's low tackles prevented two quality Vikes opportunities.
In the 49th minute Mollenhauer launched an aerial ball that popped in behind off Dinos defender Chloe Keeler-Young's stick. The ball fell to first-year Vike Sam McCrory but her space was closed well by Calgary defender Jenna Birch-Jones.
Dueck put in the Vikes' third goal off a Dinos miscue in the circle. Sajko was able to cross the ball from close range and Dueck was there to make it 3-0.
The Dinos had back-to-back corners moments later but Arnott's deliveries from the top of the circle were unsuccessful.
In the 58th minute, Emily Wong's magic set up Langkammer for her second goal of the game. Wong crafted her way from outside the 23-yard area all the way into the circle and slipped the ball to Langkammer. The senior forward turned to her back hand and buried her fourth goal of the season to make it 4-0.
"It was just icing on the cake for a surreal weekend," added Langkammer about scoring two goals in her final home weekend as a Vike. "I can't believe it's my last games but I'm so excited to be out here."
With moments to go the Dinos were able to steal the shutout away from Fleming as Patterson deflected a sweep shot from Birch-Jones on a penalty corner to make it 4-1 for Victoria. The Vikes were quick to respond as less than a minute later as Booker tapped in a loose ball to finish the game at 5-1 for Victoria.
"Everyone came out ready to go," added Langkammer. "We all have the same goal in mind and that's the one page we need to be on."
The Vikes and Dinos will clash again tomorrow in Victoria's final home game of the season. That game will take place at 11:00 a.m.
"As always our strategy is just to improve and play our best and show that we can play at this level," added Taylor about the Dinos who still have three games left in their season. "I know we can and the girls just have to believe it more."
Following this weekend the Dinos will head to Vancouver, Oct. 19-20, to face the UBC Thunderbirds in the final games of the Canada West field hockey season. The U SPORTS National Championship will be hosted at the winner of the OUA champion's home field from Nov. 1-4 in a best-of-three and two-team series.
14' VIC – Anna Mollenhauer PC, 1-0 UVIC
16' VIC – Stefanie Langkammer PC, 2-0 UVIC
49' VIC – Leina Dueck FG, 3-0 UVIC
58' VIC – Stefanie Langkammer FG, 4-0 UVIC
68' CGY – Michelle Patterson PC, 4-1 CGY
69' VIC – Delaney Booker FG, 5-1 UVIC
VIC – Robin Fleming, 70 MP, 1 GA
CGY – Ingrid Ulrich, 70 MP, 5 GA
41' - CGY #19 Jennifer Wishart, GC
55' - CGY #9 Emily Smith, GC
59' - CGY #23 Michelle Patterson, YC
65' – CGY #16 Marion Arnott, YC