The Comox Valley Eagles hosted the 2022 Westerly Field Hockey Tournament Sept. 10 and 11 at the Vanier turf field.
Visiting teams included Nanaimo, the Cowichan Cougars, two teams from Victoria and one from Seattle. The format was round-robin. The Eagles played Nanaimo in their opener, a hard fought match that ended in a scoreless draw. Eagles goalie Thu Roberston was stellar, thwarting any chances Nanaimo had to score.
The host side then faced an experienced Victoria team, the Masters of Disasters. The first 10 minutes saw two injuries which eliminated two key players for each side. Katie Leith-Mills, an effective forward for the Eagles, was hit with a ball in her face after attempting a rebound on the opposing goalkeeper. Despite losing a key player for the rest of the tourney, the Eagles dominated the second half and Colleen Schmidt managed to bang a winner into the back of the Victoria goal giving the Eagles a 1-0 victory.
The schedule allowed club members to attend a celebration of life for Kim Phillips, who had been a coach with the club for several years.
To finish the first day of play, the Eagles faced the always powerful Seattle. As temperatures soared around 28 degrees, and both teams playing their third game of the day, fatigue and exhaustion were making it difficult to generate attacks. But Schmidt capitalized on a penalty corner play and drove a ball past the Seattle netminder for another Eagles 1-0 win.
On Sunday, the hosts faced the Cowichan Cougars. The Eagles needed a win if they wanted to clinch first place in the tournament. Cowichan came out strong and capitalized in the opening minutes. Comox Valley gathered itslef and rallied with an offensive attack resulting in an equalizing goal by Schmidt. The second half saw end to end action as both teams were shut out by excellent goalkeeping until the Eagle’s Angela Buttress made several skillful moves to get into the attacking circle and drive home a reverse stick hit. This proved to be the winning goal to give the Eagles the victory.
Before their final game, Comox Valley watched nervously as Nanaimo played their last game against Seattle. If either team came up with a win, they would have had enough points to clinch first place, but the game was a scoreless draw, leaving the door open for the home team.
In the final versus the Victoria Devils, the Eagles needed to win by a goal to earn enough points to clinch the tournament championship. The hosts dominated with a 4-0 win to secure the championship. Schmidt scored all the goals.