Women’s Field Hockey News

The No. 2 nationally ranked Victoria Vikes secured a 1-0 Game 2 win over the No. 1 Toronto Varsity Blues on Saturday (Nov. 4) afternoon, sending the best-of-three 2023 U SPORTS National Championship to a third and deciding contest.

Action began at Toronto’s Back Campus Fields with both sides nearly finding the net from short corner opportunities, however, Toronto goalie Deepi Gill and Victoria goalie Anais Chace carried over their strong Game 1 performances into the second day, turning aside the early attacks.

As the second quarter began, Victoria kept the ball in the U of T end for a majority of the period courtesy effective midfield play from third-year veteran Chloe Langkammer and second-year forward Jaden Dawson. The Blues were able to close out on the Vikes attack though with great defensive efforts from fourth-year defender Evianne Rovers and second-year forward and midfielder Madeline Skeans.

Deadlocked at 0-0 through the first half, both teams quickly made their way back on the field to start the second half, but the defensive stalemate continued as neither team were able to find pay-dirt until the closing minutes of regulation.

With just under 90 seconds remaining in the game, Victoria moved quickly off a foul sending the ball into the Toronto circle where first-year forward Josie Dunham was able to chip the ball over a defenders stick before depositing a shot into the lower corner of the Blues net for the game-winner.

“Our energy was still pretty high from last night because we all believed we played a really tough game and for some of us we had been in that position before so we knew it wasn’t over yet and we came out strong today,” explained Langkammer about the Vikes Game 2 bounce back. “Krista (Thompson) [Victoria Vikes field hockey head coach] always tells us nothing comes easy so hard work has been our theme for this year and I think we just need to keep our heads up and our spirits high – tomorrow will be exciting.”

Langkammer was named the Vikes player of the game following her dominant midfield performance in the Game 2 victory. Meanwhile, Blues goalies Gill earned player of the game honours for Toronto.

“Game 1 we wanted to play our best, we knew if we went to a shootout our goal-stopper was key for us and she came through, so our prep for today was to play the same style that we did yesterday,” noted Varsity Blues field hockey head coach Cassius Mendonça. “They [Victoria] are a team that is relentless, they play wide, and they come out a lot, so we just got to stay focused, be composed, and we will be ready for tomorrow.”

The Blues and Vikes are right back on the pitch tomorrow afternoon for Game 3 of the national championship final. Toronto is in pursuit of their 12th U SPORTS title in program history, while Victoria is aiming for their fifth consecutive national banner and 16th overall. Action is scheduled to start at Back Campus Fields at 1 p.m. (EST), while the game is also available online via cbcsports.ca and the CBC Gem app.