The Cowichan Valley’s high school field hockey teams got in some vital preparation for the provincial championships at the Bridgman Cup tournament, held at the University of Victoria over the Thanksgiving weekend.
“The Bridgman Cup follows the same format as AAA provincials: six games in three days, which prepares girls for the mental and physical challenge that they will face in November,” said Cowichan Secondary coach Perri Espeseth, whose team finished third at the Bridgman. “Although being a very competitive tournament, the Bridgman Cup also encourages the girls to appreciate and recognize the field hockey community that has existed in the province, in particular Victoria, for so many years.”
The Thunderbirds swept their way through pool play, winning each of their games by at least a two-goal margin, beginning with a 3-0 win over Little Flower Academy in which Sara Goodman scored all three goals.
The T-Birds beat Collingwood 2-0 in the quarter-finals on goals by Chloe Langkammer and Makayla Styba, then lost to eventual tournament champions Handsworth by the same score in the semis, then beat Carson Graham 3-0 in the third-place game.
“Handsworth will definitely be the team to beat this year, as they have proven their strength on the field,” Espeseth said. “The loss to Handsworth was a great learning opportunity. It is hard to succeed without the taste of failure, and it has given the team the opportunity to reflect on what the focus needs to be over the next few week, so we can be the better team the next time we meet.”
Shawnigan Lake School’s only loss all weekend also came against Handsworth as they placed fifth.
Shawnigan made it through pool play with a win and two ties before falling to Handsworth 7-2 in the quarter-finals. They recovered to edge Collingwood 1-0 in the second round, then beat South Delta 3-0 in the fifth-place match.
“It was a great tournament overall,” Shawnigan coach Andi Conroy said. “The teams were so competitive and it could have gone either way.”
The Frances Kelsey Breakers placed seventh at the tournament.
“Our goal was top eight, and we did that, so that was good,” Kelsey coach Ali Andersen said. “I think we could have done better, but we were happy with seventh.”
The Breakers guaranteed themselves a top-eight result by placing second in their pool, but lost to Crofton House in a shootout in the quarter-finals. They finished on a high note by beating Collingwood 1-0 in the seventh-place game on a goal by Hannah Craig.
“It’s always nice to win your last game,” Andersen said. “We definitely dominated that game; we just had trouble finishing.”
Cowichan and Kelsey will square off in a league game at the Cowichan Sportsplex next Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
All three Valley teams are gearing up for the Island tournament in Victoria on Oct. 28 and 29 where they will attempt to qualify for the AAA provincials in Surrey on Nov. 9-11.