Ben Steiner, UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER - The UBC Women's field hockey team edged the University of Calgary Dinos 1-0 in the first of a two-game weekend home series Saturday at Wright Field. Coming off a 2-1 setback to Victoria, the Thunderbirds looked to rebound after suffering their first loss of the season.
The T-Birds came into the game with a 2-1-3 record, good for second in the league while Calgary has yet to win a game through six contests this season. The Thunderbirds came into the game needing a win, as a loss would all but confirm that they would not qualify for nationals. The two teams met earlier in September with UBC winning one game and drawing the other.
UBC spent most of the first half in the offensive end, continuing the positive play they have shown all season. Although they had an abundance of time on attack, the T-birds only managed to get three shots on target. After an onslaught of pressure the birds finally found the breakthrough with 12 minutes remaining when defender Sarah Goodman scored off a penalty corner to give them the lead. The Dinos got a late penalty corner but were halted in their tracks by Thunderbirds keeper Rowan Harris.
UBC Head Coach Poonam Sadhu was proud of her team's energy going forward in the first half, but stressed that she needed to see that energy on the defensive side at half time.
The Dinos came out in much better shape at the beginning of the second half. Calgary was able to keep possession, and get chances; with their best one coming 10 minutes in when Lauren Hayes was sprung on a breakaway only to be denied by UBC's Gabriella Switzer. Calgary sustained their attack throughout the half, but the Thunderbirds held firm to secure to 1-0 victory and keep their national championship hopes alive.
After collecting the three points on Saturday, UBC will need to win by seven goals in Sunday's game to take over first place in the conference.
"I was proud of how we stuck to our systems and showed energy throughout the game," said UBC head coach Sandhu following the win. She went on to stress how if they stick to their systems in Sunday's game she believes that they can score the seven goals they need.
Scoring seven will not be an easy task for the 'Birds, however you can't count this group out just yet. Sunday's game and season closing affair begins at 11:00 a.m. If UBC are to get the goals they need, they will fly to the U Sports National Championship series at the home of the OUA divisional champion.
PHOTO: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds