Ali Baggott, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes women's field hockey team will have to put their National Championship hopes on hold for one more weekend after a 2-2 draw today with the visiting Calgary Dinos. A strong performance from the visitors stymied a guarantee to Nationals for the Vikes who will now have to await the UBC and Calgary results next week.
Fifth years Delaney Booker and Stefanie Langkammer each scored for the Vikes for the second day in a row. It was the last home game for Kristina Walters-Shumka, Jenna Dhillon, Lindsay Cole, Booker and Langkammer.
"I think Calgary played an absolutely brilliant game," said Vikes head coach Lynne Beecroft. "We played really well in the first 10 minutes of the second half. We finally got composure and used one another and capitalized on our chances. We still out-chanced them but we just didn't finish. They had a few chances and finished on two of them."
For the Dinos, goalkeeper Ingrid Ulrich was outstanding between the pipes. Chloe Keeler-Young and Jenna Bower netted the two goals for the Dinos, who earn their second tie of the season after not earning any points since 2012.
"The girls played what I would consider the best game we have ever played," said an elated Dinos head coach Peter Taylor, whose team improves to 0-4-2. "We committed ourselves the whole 70 minutes. We played tough and we really put the Vikes under pressure."
The Calgary Dinos came out with a renewed fight in the opening half. Penalty corner opportunities favoured the Dinos 4-2, three of which came in the opening five minutes of the game. Vikes defender Emily Wong did well to close down on the Calgary options at the top of the circle.
The Vikes' best chance of the game came when they executed a press on Calgary's 15-m hit. Booker's hard work to close down the right side of the pitch allowed for the counter-attack as she sprung Sam McCrory down the right side. McCrory and Cole had a give-and-go play and Cole's resulting back-hand was stymied at the last minute by the glove of Ulrich.
In the 26th minute the Vikes got their first penalty corner chance of the game but a hot-potato play at the top of the circle resulted in the Vikes not getting a quality shot off.
Calgary showed hard work defensively all game as captain Marion Arnott once again anchored the back field. Offensive possession was also working to Calgary's advantage as Bower, Melanie Scholz and Michelle Patterson's simplified play generated more opportunities than the day previous.
In the 30th minute the Vikes broke on a 5-m infraction and the Dinos found themselves at the top of the circle for their fourth penalty corner. This time Calgary did no options and Birch-Jones smashed in the ball that ricocheted off Vikes goalkeeper Robin Fleming's foot and in to the net for a 1-0 Dinos lead.
The Vikes were back in the other end and earned a chance to even up on another penalty corner. The short option worked between Cole and Langkammer was denied on the near side by Ulrich's pads. The game remained 1-0 for Calgary at half time.
The start of the second half was a different story for the Vikes. Fifth-year fire power turned the game around for the home side. In the 38th minute an errant transfer pass by Birch-Jones went right to the stick of Booker. The forward had acres of time and space and walked the ball in to the circle and smashed it bottom corner for a 1-1 tie.
Langkammer advanced the Vikes' lead in the 40th minute on a penalty corner rebound. The initial sweep shot by Anna Mollenhauer bounced off the pads of Ulrich and Langkammer flipped the ball in for a 2-1 Victoria lead.
Calgary netminder Ulrich showed great composure to deny the Vikes from the penalty stroke mark after Mollenhauer was fouled in the circle. First year McCrory took the stroke for Victoria but Ulrich kept the Vikes at bay.
Calgary were able to tie the game on a quick break down the other side that was met with a hard challenge from Vikes defender Judy Cristante. The Dinos were able to capitalize from the penalty stroke mark as Bower's composure allowed her to finish in the bottom corner for a 2-2 tie game.
A brilliant pass in tight to a streaking Cole almost gave the Vikes another advantage. Cole winded her way through the Calgary crowd but lost the final one-on-one to Ulrich's stick.
Ulrich continued her brilliance throughout the second half denying six Vikes penalty corners late in the half.
"What Ingrid did today was amazing," added Taylor. "She gave us the point just by all the first saves in the first half and then all the corners in the second. She is easily by far our best player today. Even though many girls played well she was by far our most outstanding player."
Kelsie Volek and Jennifer Wishart combined well for the Dinos down the right side with less than five minutes to go but Volek's pass went untouched in the Victoria circle. Right down the other end first year forward Erin Dawson had an open look at goal from close range but her shot went just wide of the left post.
Victoria's Fleming was called to action big in the final minute of the came as a flurry of Calgary attack resulted in two shots on goal. Fleming made the key saves and though the Vikes pressed hard to the final minute the game remained a 2-2 draw.
"You so want it that sometimes you squeeze a little tight on our sticks and I think that's what happened with us," added Beecroft. "The fifth years so want to have a chance to win a title and the other kids wanted that for them but sometimes it got a bit scattered. The wanting it for them versus the focusing on the process for the field took over."
This wraps up the regular season for the Vikes, while the Dinos have two more games against the Thunderbirds, Oct. 19-20, in Vancouver. This leaves a lot of uncertainty for who from the Canada West will qualify for nationals. The Thunderbirds will need two wins by a large goal differential to earn the lone berth.
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.
31' CGY – Jenna Birch-Jones PC, 1-0 CGY
38' VIC – Delaney Booker FG, 1-1 VIC
40' VIC – Stefanie Langkammer PC, 2-1 VIC
46' CGY – Jenna Bower PS, 2-2 CGY
VIC – Robin Fleming, 70 MP, 2 GA
CGY – Ingrid Ulrich, 70 MP, 2 GA
54' – CGY #22 Sabrina Wong, GC
68' VIC #11 Jenna Dhillon, YC