After some tense moments, the L.V. Rogers Bombers girls field hockey team have won back-to-back Kootenay zone titles and will be off to the provincials in Victoria in the first week in November.
The Bombers may have taken the long road to repeat as Kootenay zone champions, but coach Bruce Walgren said it was very sweet indeed.
Walgren told the Star that Tuesday’s game against Trail’s J.L. Crowe was probably one of the best field hockey games he’s ever watched in the Kootenays.
“Great attacking play by Crowe placed the Bombers under so much pressure, you’d think the field was tilted in Crowe’s favour,” Walgren said. The Bomber defence was being tested relentlessly as everyone did their job and ran hard. As the Bombers began to break down the almost oppressive Crowe checking, both sides had great scoring chances. Tight checking was the name of the game. There was endless running for Bomber midfielders Noa Butterfield and Allie Zondervan, also known as “the heart of the team”, said the coach.
Walgren said the “incredible defence” from Heather Potkins, Kyra Burkart, Emma Gregorich and Julia Burkart held up the Crowe attack until help arrived from the mid field and forwards Emma Borhi and Hanna Quinn coming back to fill the gap.
The first half ended 0–0.
Small adjustments were made at the half and a determined speech by Emma Borhi lit a fire under the Bombers. Barely two minutes into the second, the Bombers attacked the Crowe net with speed almost catching the defenders napping. Striker Quinn took a shot which the keeper stopped but she jumped on her own rebound and poked the ball over the line to score 1 – 0.
The goal gave the Bombers a boost which they needed as Crowe pressed the LVR defence again and again looking for a way to the Bomber goal.
Late in the game Crowe earned three short corners in a row and the four person Bomber “D” held off the Crowe attack.
“From this unbelievable defence the LVR back line moved the ball out to the midfield and up to back,” said Walgren. Checking forwards Borhi and Quinn worked the ball up into the Crowe end. “With great checking again the Bombers kept Crowe in their end when Perkins put on a display of stick handling and smashed the ball past the Crowe keeper,” said Walgren. The Bombers won 2-0 for the zone championship and a berth in the provincials.
Allie Zondervan running past a Stanley Humphries player in semi final action. Karen Walgren photo
This game was preceded by Monday’s semi-final against Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries which LVR won 3-0.
Right from the start, the coach said it looked like Castlegar might strike for the game’s first goal but strong defence led by Kyra Burkart, Gregorich, Potkins and Julia Burkart, combined with steady goal keeping of Rylee Zondervan (who was injured during warm up) kept Castlegar from converting on numerous short corners.
The Bombers then broke out on a counter attack moving the ball out of the back and up the left side to Perkins who took the ball on a long run yet failed to score. According to Walgren, the “relentless” checking of forwards Quinn, Borhi, and Kaitlyn Daly pressured the Castlegar team to make mistakes, which Bomber mid fielders of Perkins, Allie Zondervan and Butterfield exploited. It was on one of these turn overs that Borhi poked the ball past the Castlegar keeper.
The first half ended 1–0.
In the second half strong defence by every member of the Bomber team kept Castlegar trapped in their own end for much of the game. This strong defence combined with the pressure from the forwards and mid field allowed Allie Zondervan to hit a low hard shot into the Castlegar goal. Shortly after, mid field work from Butterfield freed up Perkins for a run in to the scoring circle where she beat two defenders with what Walgren called “amazing stick handling”, and hammered a low shot through the keepers legs, bringing the Bombers up 3 – 0.
The coach added that strong play by rookies Kathy Hayn, Kassandra Schloeder, Liza Demski, Lakpa Dietz, Mia Kraus, Noelle Wang, and Camille Gebhart allowed the win and a trip to the final on Tuesday against JL Crowe.