Field Hockey: Blue Jags Retain Island Championship

Winning team with trophy

It was another exciting seven days for the Senior girls field hockey team.

On Monday, October 21, powered by an Olivia Donald hat trick, SMUS defeated Oak Bay 3-0. Two days later, a 5-0 win over Reynolds not only gave all squad members extended game time, but also saw the Blue Jags conclude local league play with a perfect 8-0 record. As the top ranked AA team, SMUS will now play Mt Douglas, the highest finishing AAA squad, for the May-Tully Shield and the City playoff title.

However, the main focus of the week for both coaches and players was the AA Island Tournament, held October 25-26 on the turf at UVIC. A comfortable 7-0 victory over Queen Margaret’s set the stage for a potentially sticky pool decider against Mark Isfeld. Indeed, back in the first week of the season, a last second goal had given the Courtenay-based Isfeld a 2-1 exhibition triumph over SMUS.

This time however, two early Jags goals settled the contest and SMUS moved into the semifinals with four goals to Isfeld’s one.

An 8:00 am start the following morning saw SMUS and Brentwood in the first semifinal, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the upcoming BC tournament. In a superb defensive effort, the Blue Jags did not allow their opponents a single shot on net, while goals from Kasey Boyle (2) and Jenna Dhillon, all from penalty corners, took care of the offence.

The final was then played against Shawnigan, which had scraped through its own semifinal in a shootout vs Mark Isfeld. The enthralling contest (in front of a large, appreciative crowd) featured plenty of aggressive tackling, some slick passing, and a good ebb and flow.

SMUS definitely held the advantage in terms of possession, territory and shots on goal, with Dhillon and Josie Commichau giving outstanding performances. However, though under great pressure, the Shawnigan defence held firm, and, at 0-0 in the late going, overtime loomed.

Happily, with regular time literally almost up, a sweet passing attack initiated by Dhillon saw the ball move out to Aveen Glen on the left wing. Her diagonal pass to the right post was then hammered into the back of the net by Rylee Boyle, with only eight seconds to play showing on the clock!

It was a dramatic end to the game, leaving Shawnigan understandably deflated, while the pro-SMUS crowd erupted in delight. All in all, the Blue Jags did deserve the victory, given a significant edge in possession and scoring chances. Yet, it was a close run.

With the win, SMUS successfully defended its Island title. The team now goes on to the BC championship as the Island #1 seed. These AA Provincials take place at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver from November 6-8. Best of luck.

Vivat!

Thanks to Mr. Thomson for photos from the game. You can see the complete collection in our photo gallery.

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