Churchill Bulldogs team co-captain Sarah Patrick dominated the Vancouver public school senior girls field hockey championships Nov. 1, making decisive plays on defence and scoring two goals in a 3-0 victory over the Kitsilano Blue Demons.
Playing in the rain at Eric Hamber secondary, the Grade 12 student challenged Kitsilano right out of the gates and created the Bulldogs’ first scoring opportunity when she stick-handled past defenders and cracked a shot on net.
“She’s a really strong player,” said Kitsilano head coach Diane Russell. “She’s fast and has a hard shot.”
Kitsilano’s back line was held firm by defender Sophie Vogel and midfielder Natalie Jodoin but Churchill took advantage of their tired opponents and maintained forward pressure through the first half. The Blue Demons qualified for the final two days earlier in a marathon over-time match against Eric Hamber, which they finally won 1-0 after an indecisive shootout went to sudden death.
The Bulldogs opened scoring when co-captains Jenny Pepper and Patrick combined on a penalty corner, their sixth of the half.
Despite a slim lead, Churchill coach Andrea May said the Bulldogs could not let up against Kitsilano.
“It’s always nerve-wracking playing Kits,” she said. “We know Kits, we’ve seen them in the past, they are a very good team and they have very quick, strong players. They can make a turnaround, like we witnessed.”
The Blue Demons rallied after the break but not before Patrick gave the Bulldogs a little breathing room. Less than three minutes into the second half, she notched her second off a play set up from Pepper on a penalty corner. Patrick’s first shot was kicked out by the goaltender but she chased it down and fired home the rebound to take a 2-0 lead.
Kitsilano then turned on the switch and surged against the Churchill defenders for quick transition chances. They rallied for four excellent drives but Churchill goaltender Nicola Frazer would not be beaten.
“With a bit of luck we could have got one in there,” said Russell.
Pepper popped home the Bulldogs’ third goal.
May said the championship win held a lot of meaning for Churchill.
“The girls knew what this game meant. We have nine Grade 12s that are graduating this year and it was very important that they step up,” she said. “They did at the right time to have a beautiful win.”
Churchill and Eric Hamber compete at the AAA senior girls field hockey championships Nov. 14 to 16 in Coquitlam.