The Cowichan Secondary School field hockey team not only made it to the 2023 BC School Sports AAA Field Hockey Championships in Chilliwack Nov. 8-10, they made it to the final game. Technically, they even made it to the end of the final game, but still they came second.
After advancing to the championship bracket by way of placing first in their pool, Cow High faced Okanagan Mission in quarterfinal action, breaking a 2-2 tie by winning the shootout.
From there, Cowichan faced Kelowna, beating that school 1-0 in the semi-finals. While they won the game, they lost Grade 12 player Ava Winter to injury — a heartbreaking way to end her high school career.
“She’s one of our central players and definitely controls the field so losing her was a big loss for the team for sure but it was really amazing,” Erickson explained. “Everyone on the team stepped up and filled in the roles, and during the Kelowna game, they all really wanted to win it for Ava. They just bound together as a team and that carried through to the final. It was amazing to see.”
The victory vaulted the T-Birds into the final game for all the marbles against Handsworth, a school that beat G.W. Graham 4-0 in the quarters, and Winston Churchill 2-1 in the semis to advance to the finals.
Handsworth scored the first and only goal of the contest to win 1-0 but it came after time had effectively run out.
They’d earned a short corner as time was expiring so they were able to take it with no time left on the clock.
“Handsworth scored right at the end,” Erickson said with a grimace. “What a tough way to lose.”
The North Vancouver-based team took the provincial crown by a 1-0 score, giving Cowichan second place in the province, a position on the podium they’ve grown accustomed to being at or beside all year long.
“We got first at the Ferreira Cup, second at the Friendship Cup, third at Bridgman Cup and first at Islands,” noted Erickson.
The team loses six Grade 12s to graduation, plus two more international players, meaning a total of eight players that were on this season’s roster won’t be there next season. It’s a significant loss but Erickson said the team will adapt.
“The Grade 12s this year, all of them have just been such phenom leaders and the hope is that the Grade 10s and 11s learn from that and as they get into Grade 12, they fill in those roles,” said the coach.
In other field hockey action, fighting for seventh place, Shawnigan Lake School faced off against Brentwood College School in the AA provincial tournament which ran Nov. 6-8 in West Vancouver. Shawnigan won the game to claim seventh overall while Brentwood placed eighth.