‘Steller’ finish as Cowichan claims Div. 3 field hockey title

Olivia Burton scored the winning goal last Saturday as the Cowichan Stellers claimed the championship in Division 3 of the Vancouver Island Ladies Field Hockey Association with a 2-1 win over Lynx III.

With about 10 minutes left to play, Burton punched the ball through a “messy scrum” in front of the net, breaking a 1-1 deadlock, and her teammates held on through the final whistle.

The Stellers had opened the scoring when a clearing attempt by the Lynx didn’t make it out, and Lynne Dayton pounced on the ball and went in one-on-one against the Lynx goaltender. The Lynx managed to tie the score, setting the stage for Burton’s winner.

The Stellers regained the Div. 3 title for Cowichan Field Hockey after the Kestrels last won it in 2012. According to Cowichan Field Hockey president Kara Joyce, the win is part of a long legacy in the Valley.

“The skill carries over from the other programs: the junior program and the indoor program that the ladies have built for years,” she said.

Robin Fleming tended goal for the Stellers in the final. Because of a lack of goalies in the Cowichan system, the team hadn’t had a regular player at that position. The few goalies have to be shared between the four squads.

“She’s a great goalie, and she had played for [Sue Fraser’s] team a number of times,” Joyce said of Fleming.

Cowichan had a team in the playoffs at each VILFHA level, with the Flickers reaching the semis in Div. 1 and the Cardinals matching the feat in Div. 2. “We do well every year,” Joyce said. “We never go a year without someone playing in a semifinal at least. Often, all our teams make it into the playoffs.”

Although the VILFHA season is over, drop-in field hockey at the Cowichan Sportsplex will begin on June 18, where it runs from 7-8:30 each Wednesday. Everyone is welcome, regardless of age, gender or experience.