The Senior girls field hockey season came to a dramatic close the week of November 4-10, starting with the May Tully Shield match against Mt. Douglas. This shield itself, played for by the top AA and AAA teams in the city, dates back to 1928, making it one of the oldest pieces of field hockey hardware in Canada.
In the game, SMUS – undefeated in local league play – did as expected, with goals from Aveen Glen, Kasey Boyle and Olivia Donald (2) cementing a 4-0 victory.
The team then turned its attention to the ultimate prize, namely the BC AA finals, a twelve-team event held at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver. 4th place finishers a year ago, the Blue Jags looked to improve upon this standing, though fully aware of the threats posed by Shawnigan, Crofton House and Collingwood.
With the entire tournament marred to a degree by very wet weather and a great difference in the two turf fields being used, SMUS opened in good order, taking all three of its pool matches. First, goals from Olivia Donald (2), Kasey Boyle (2), Jenna Dhillon, Anna Mollenhauer and Rylee Boyle produced a 7-0 victory over North Delta. Trail’s JL Crowe then proved to be stickier opposition, with a marker by Josi Commichau the only score. Finally, in a 2-0 triumph over Sentinel of North Vancouver, Rylee Boyle and Emma Loughton provided the necessary offence.
Winning the pool set up a quarter final encounter against Windsor, also from North Vancouver, on the water turf. In a comprehensive 4-0 win, Dhillon, Siri Knudsen, Kasey Boyle and Emma Donald connected for goals. Quite remarkably, goalkeeper Shinai Sorensen and the defense in front of her continued a shutout string that had started in the last round of the Bridgman Cup, some four weeks earlier!
Still, now came the hard part. As expected, Shawnigan, Crofton House and Collingwood had also moved smoothly through to the final four. With so little between the four teams, it was inevitable that both semifinals and the subsequent medal games would be tight, physical, grinding encounters.
Unfortunately, SMUS, despite the best efforts of Dhillon and Kasey Boyle, just could not get on track offensively against Crofton House, falling 1-0. The victors adapted better to the bouncy playing surface and had the better scoring chances.
In the bronze medal match, the Blue Jags met an equally disappointed Collingwood side. In a very even contest, played in the best weather conditions of the whole tournament, the Cavaliers went ahead 1-0 following a first half penalty corner. However, SMUS then came storming back in dominant fashion. Kasey Boyle scored the equalizer off a Dhillon cross, and several high quality scoring chances soon followed. Yet, not one was converted successfully, leaving Collingwood to notch an opportunistic winning goal with ten seconds left on the clock.
With the loss came a 4th place overall provincial finish. The fact that both semifinals and the medal games had all been one goal affairs was of little consolation, as SMUS had entered the competition with higher expectations. Yet, it was not to be.
Nonetheless, the players may be extremely proud of their accomplishments this season. They captured three trophies, were easily the best team in Victoria, repeated as Island champions, and came so very close at the BCs. The manner in which they played the game impressed those who watched – whether it was the crisp passing, great use of space or good sportsmanship.
Indeed, the team has been a credit to the school over the last two months, and deserve the many plaudits which have come their way. While midfield maestro Dhillon, inspirational goalkeeper Sorensen and goal scoring left winger Emma Donald will be lost to graduation, all the other players return as SMUS sets its sights on a provincial medal in 2014.