The Cowichan Thunderbirds won their second consecutive tournament to start the high school field hockey season when they topped the field at their own John Ferreira Memorial Tournament at the Cowichan Sportsplex last weekend.
The T-Birds beat the Frances Kelsey Breakers 1-0 to win the small tournament — Shawnigan Lake School and the South Delta Sun Devils were the other entries — thanks to Sara Goodman’s penalty-corner goal.
“Kelsey gave us a really good final,” Cowichan coach Perri Espeseth said. “They have a lot of girls our players really know well, so it was a friendly game, but a competitive game.”
Cowichan and Kelsey battled to a scoreless tie when they played earlier in the two-day tournament.
“That was a really close game,” Espeseth said. “It could have gone either way.”
When they met in the final, both teams were just coming off a game against South Delta where each team played 30 minutes in order to give the Sun Devils a fourth game after they made the trip over to Vancouver Island.
Emma Dame was among the standouts for Cowichan throughout the tournament.
“We had one player, Brittany Smith, sitting out, and Emma did a good job filling in for her at centre midfield for the weekend,” Espeseth said.
After winning the Friendship Cup the weekend before, the T-Birds got off to a slow start in the Ferreira tournament, but were back in form by the end.
“We improved a lot over the tournament,” Espeseth said. “We started the weekend on a bit of a low, but we were able to build back up again. We needed to get our legs going again, but we pulled it all together.”
The tournament had several benefits for the T-Birds early in the season.
“It was a good learning opportunity, definitely,” Espeseth said. “South Delta brought a few different things that we hadn’t come across yet.”
After getting this weekend off, the T-Birds will be back in action on the Thanksgiving weekend as they play in the Bridgman Cup tournament at the University of Victoria.
The Bridgman offers teams a good chance to prepare for the provincial tournament — which Cowichan, Kelsey and Shawnigan will be hosting this year — because it attracts most of the top teams in the province and teams play a busy schedule of six games over three days.