Cowichan T-Birds tie Kelsey Breakers in final minute

Another chapter in the friendly but heated rivalry between the Cowichan Secondary and Frances Kelsey field hockey teams went in the books.

Another chapter in the friendly but heated rivalry between the Cowichan Secondary and Frances Kelsey field hockey teams went in the books on Tuesday, ending in an appropriate 1-1 draw at the Cowichan Sportsplex.

“It’s always a good rivalry and a great game between our two teams,” Kelsey coach Ali Andersen said. “It was very competitive as always between us. We had some shots, they had some shots; it was pretty even. The score definitely reflects the game.”

The game was scoreless at halftime.

“We had a strong first half, but couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” Cowichan coach Perri Espeseth said.

Kelsey got on the board about 10 minutes into the second half when Ashlyn Toljander tipped the ball past Cowichan’s junior national team goalie Robin Fleming. Chloe Langkammer tied the game for Cowichan on a penalty corner with 30 seconds left to play.

“Although we were happy to tie it up, that wasn’t the result we were looking for,” Espeseth said.

According to Andersen, Toljander’s tip reflected the work the Kelsey players have been doing in practice.

“We’re working on scoring more,” the coach said. “That’s sort of our team goal. We’ve been doing a lot of tipping in practice, and it has started to pay off, like with that beautiful tipped goal.”

Kelsey goalkeeper Niki Leech came within a minute of shutting down the powerful Cowichan offence.

“That was one of the best games I’ve seen her play,” Andersen said. “She’s becoming more confident. She came through when we needed her to and made big saves when we needed her to.”

Andersen also had praise for Julianna Cross.

“She played a solid defensive role in the game,” she said. “She was very calm when we needed her to be, and very frantic when we needed her to be.”

Both teams are off until the Island championships on Oct. 26-29. Kelsey will open the tournament against Shawnigan Lake School at the Shawnigan turf at 4 p.m. next Thursday, and the subsequent games will be played at the University of Victoria.