Vikes win gold and silver at U SPORTS championships

- Kelley O'Grady

The University of Victoria women's field hockey team celebrates their fifth U SPORTS Championship by posing with the banner and their gold medals.
The University of Victoria women's field hockey team celebrates their fifth-consecutive U SPORTS national title. Credit: Syran Mammadov

VICTORIA - The University of Victoria women's field hockey team captured its fifth-straight and 16th overall U SPORTS Field Hockey Championship title with a 3-0 win over the University of Toronto in game three of the best of three series on Nov. 5 at Back Campus Fields in Toronto.

A pair of early goals was all the Vikes needed as they cruised to a 3-0 win over the top-ranked Toronto team. In a tournament that came down to determination and resilience, the Vikes earned their spot back atop the summit of collegiate field hockey.

From underdogs to champions

It is hard to imagine the Vikes as underdogs, but with 12 first- and second-year players—including a rookie goaltender—there were a lot of unknowns coming into the season. However, what they lacked in experience, they made up for with grit. According to head coach Krista Thompson, the team spent the season focused on the process rather than the outcome.

We talked today in our team meeting before the game about taking care of the little things, and I think our players went out there, and they did that quite early. We never really talked about winning. We always talk about the process and the details, and to have the result like we did today, you have to take care of all those little things. I would say they saved their best game for this last game, and I am incredibly proud of this young group of athletes.

— Krista Thompson, Head Coach

The win marks the first as head coach for Thompson, who took the program's helm this season after 26 years as the assistant alongside legendary coach and hall-of-famer Lynne Beecroft. No stranger to winning, Thompson helped lead the Vikes to eight of its 16 banners.

Honouring outstanding Vikes

Third-year Vike Libby Hogg received the U SPORTS Championship Most Valuable Player, while Anni Kleinschmidt received the R.W. Fair Play Award for outstanding sportsmanship and Julia Boraston collected player of the game honours following game three.

"I am very honoured and grateful to have received the [MVP] award," said Hogg during the championship celebrations. "I think from day one we were a younger squad and we've just been building and building all season, so to keep growing even this weekend and come out on top is just awesome."

The Vikes end the year with a record of 6-2-3.

Women's rugby finishes with silver at U SPORTS championship

Players from the UVic women's rugby team celebrate winning a national silver medal
The UVic women's rugby team celebrates their national silver medal. Credit Mathieu Belanger

The eighth-seeded University of Victoria women's rugby team's spectacular run at the 2023 U SPORTS Championships ended with a 32-13 loss to the defending U SPORTS champions Université Laval, Nov. 5 at Stade Telus—Université Laval to finish as national runners-up in the program's first-ever championship final appearance.

A Cinderella story, the Vikes finished the Canada West regular season taking second in the conference but drawing the unlucky eighth and lowest seed heading into nationals.

Adding insult to injury, the Vikes were missing last year's U SPORTS Rookie of the Year, Carissa Norsten and 2023-24 U SPORTS All-Canadian Lucie Romeo, who were representing Canada at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile

However, boasting one of the country's fiercest front lines, the Vikes came out firing on all cylinders, taking down the number one-seeded Ottawa Gee Gees in the upset of the tournament.

Looking to improve on their highest-ever fourth-place national finish, the Vikes took down a highly skilled team from the University of Guelph to earn their sport in the U SPORTS national final, where they made history by snagging the program's first-ever silver medal.

Faith Tilley earned U SPORTS Player of the Game honours for the Vikes, garnering a nod to the Championship All-Star team alongside teammates MacKinnon, Larah Wright, and Maelle Reed.

The Vikes end the 2023 15s season with a 6-4 overall record.


In this story

Keywords: athletics, vikes, sports, alumni

People: Krista Thompson, Lynne Beecroft, Libby Hogg, Anni Kleinschmidt, Julia Boraston, Faith Tilley, Maggie MacKinnon, Laura Wright

Related stories