Day One: First Field Hockey took to the skies early on Thursday morning heading out of Toronto airport – destination Victoria, BC to attend the CAIS Invitational Field Hockey tournament hosted by St. Michael’s University School and Glenlyon Norfolk School. The girls were greeted with sunshine and warm weather upon landing in Victoria and it would remain so for the duration of the trip. To mark their arrival, we ventured out into the waters from Victoria Harbour in two zodiacs and dressed in our red survival suits. We were treated to views of sea lions resting and barking at the lighthouse station and a number of humpback whales feeding off the coast. A real highlight for the girls was the sea kelp, which they pulled on board and turned into musical instruments and hand puppets. The boat ride was a thrill in itself and the squeals of delight could be heard across the bay.
Back on land we took in a little of the downtown and had a delightful dinner at Pagliacci’s (clearly a favourite with the locals) and enjoyed the opportunity to carb-load on the warm bread which quickly became ‘the usual’ at our table! It was then off to bed in preparation for our first day at University of Victoria’s fabled water turf.
Day Two: We were up early and off to UVic for our 9:00 am game. After a period of adjustment to the new surface, Ridley showed real promise and were thrilled to have the opportunity to play the game at such a great facility. We had two round robin games this day and lost our first game against the eventual tournament silver medalists, Brentwood School. The girls were led on the turf by veteran captains, Siena Vendittelli ’15 and Tamara Butera ’15.
We then won our second against The York House Tigers 1-0 with a goal scored by Emme Shaw ’18. Wingers Hannah Bradley ’17 and Emma Jenkins ’17 were strong positional players and provided fresh legs when we were in tough against this team. Clare Hearn ’17 stepped into the defense role again for the Ridley Tigers and showed great tenacity.
After a busy day on the turf, the team took to downtown Victoria to explore the city and see the sights. The girls returned to the hotel for a cozy dinner in the coaches’ suite and then went off to bed in preparation for another big day.
Day Three: This was a big day with a 5:30 wake up call and 3 games to play. The day started with a game against Southridge School where both teams battled from end to end but finished in a 0-0 draw. The d-team (defense) of Ella Foss ’16, Sarah Loleit ’16 and Ines Nannsen ’17 were instrumental in keeping the Southridge Storm at 0. After only an hour break your Tigers were back on the turf to face Glenlyon-Norfolk School. We dominated this game and posted a 2-0 score with goals scored by Arwyn Workman-Youmans ’16 and Claire Thomas ’15. Keeper Cassidy Filion ’18 earned the shutout by, not only keeping the ball out in regular play, but also stonewalling a penalty flick.
The whole team worked well together and showed more confidence in their game and in each other. This served them well when playing their third match of the day against St. Michael’s University School (SMUS). The girls had seen SMUS dominate in their previous games by posting high and unanswered scores and Ridley was determined to give them a fight. Though we ended up on the short end of a 2-0 score the girls were proud of their play. Midfielders Alana MacDonald ’15, Tayllor Smith ’15 and Morgan Mattern ’15 were key contributors with great ball skills and dogged determination.
After round-robin play, Ridley finished solidly in third place, a significant accomplishment for such a young team! In high spirits, the girls traveled to a favourite west coast hot spot, The Red Robin Gourmet Burger Restaurant, to partake in a well-earned celebratory meal. Good food, good laughs, good friends.
Day Four: We awoke to beautiful skies and achy, tired bodies as the girls prepped to leave the for the final game of the tournament against The York House School. The Ridley Tigers dominated the entire game with AnnMarie Leach ’18 and Kiana Gemmell ’18 providing much needed fresh legs at key points in the game. Despite controlling the game from start to finish and putting huge pressure on YHS we were unable to find the back of the net. This put us into a penalty shoot out. Although we ended on the short side of the shoot out the girls (and their coaches) were incredibly proud of their performance on the field. Throughout the tournament the team displayed the true meaning of unity and determination!
Tired and happy the girls bid farewell to Victoria and boarded the plane bound for home with fond memories of the west coast and their time together.
Written by Coach Scott and Coach Darby