After three days of giving it their all, the L.V. Rogers Bombers girls field hockey team (and 2014 West Kootenay champions) placed eighth at the provincials in Oliver last weekend.
Coach Val Gibson said the sixth game lost in sudden death overtime “was a tough one”.
The team’s second coach Bruce Walgren said, “This team of ladies played extremely well and should be very proud of their accomplishments from this very short season. Winning the Kootenay regular season title, being the first Bombers team in a decade to win the Kootenay Zone (which has always been won by Rossland/Trail), finishing second in the A pool, coming eighth in a provincial tournament where every team is great, (four places better than last year), and knowing they can play with the best of them, with the 0–0 tie to number one ranked Crofton House.”
The squad won their first game on Thursday, 3–1, against #6-ranked Rockridge of Vancouver.
“LVR put pressure on Rockridge right from the start with continuous speed and aggressive forechecking from forwards Jena Wheeldon, Sara Wade and Hanna Quinn, the mid field of Abbie Willans-Boucher, Hailee Gerun, Naomi Perkins, Allie Zondervan, Noa Butterfield played extremely well and controlled much of the game.”
He said there was “exceptional defence” by Emma Gregorich, Lauren Walgren, Anna Geoppner, Julia Burkart, Kyra Burkart, and Heather Potkins. First half goals by Hailee Gerun and Jena Wheeldon gave LVR the lead, with a third from Sara Wade.
Their second game was a 0–0 tie against #1-ranked Crofton House, who eventually took the top spot in the tournament.
Walgren explained, “This game was extremely hard fought fast paced with both sides creating tremendous scoring opportunities. Great goaltending by Tara Yowek and strong defensive play by the back line and mid-field with the forwards sometimes coming all the way back to help relieve the pressure from the formidable Crofton House attack especially late in the second half. Crofton House sped up their game and really tested the LVR defence.”
According to Walgren, game three on Friday “turned out to be a nail biting affair.”
They won 1–0 win against GNS from Vancouver. The only goal came from Jena Wheeldon off a penalty stroke and goaltender Yowek earned a shutout.
This win over GNS, coupled with a Crofton House win over Rockridge put LVR into second place in the A pool and gave LVR the toughest road for the final four.
Game four on Friday afternoon was a quarter final 2–0 loss to #3-ranked St. Micheals University from Victoria.
This loss meant the Bombers could finish no higher than fifth.
Game five on Saturday morning was a 2–0 loss to Rockridge.The Bombers controlled most of the play and had so many opportunities to win it, but Rockridge scored from a short corner. As LVR pressed to tie it Rockridge counter attacked but defender Anna Geoppner saved the goal with her foot. This resulted in a penalty stroke which Rockridge converted past a diving Yowek.
Photo:A penalty corner for L.V. Rogers versus Chilliwack’s GW Graham Secondary during provincial action.
The sixth and final game Saturday afternoon was a 1–0 overtime loss to GW Graham from Chilliwack.
Walgren said, “The Bombers were clearly the better side controlling most of the play and having the better scoring opportunities.”
He said many of the girls were at this point playing with taped hands, thighs, hips, badly bruised knees and foreheads.
“Just ask Jena Wheeldon, whose aggressive forechecking caused all kinds of trouble for Chilliwack’” said Walgren. “She paid the price for the team taking several hard hits to the forearms, and upper body. The scoring drought continued for the Bombers at the end of regulation time the game was tied 0–0. A single 10 minute sudden death overtime period was played, and with less than a minute remaining GW Graham scored from a goal mouth scramble.”
This was the last game for several of the Bomber ladies who will be graduating this year: Captain Lauren Walgren (who was the captain of the senior team for three years and one year as the junior team captain), Jena Wheeldon, Hailee Gerun, Abbie Willans-Boucher, Sara Wade, Anna Geoppner, and Tara Yowek.
“There is a great group of ladies ready to return and try and repeat for next year,” said Walgren.