Victoria, BC – Renowned for its mild winters, rocky shorelines, and Island lifestyle, the University of Victoria’s athletic program is anything but laidback. Since their inception in 1970, the Vikes have won 50 U SPORTS National Championships and 31 other Canadian University National Championships in rowing, golf, and men’s and women’s rugby. UVic has also amassed a total of 117 Canada West Conference Championships.
In a year where UVic hosted three total national championships, the Vikes women’s field hockey team won their second straight national championship, a pair of programs returned to the postseason, and one swimmer stole the show at U SPORTS Nationals.
These are the best stories from the past year.
Field Hockey wins second straight National Championship
After winning their first national championship in a decade in 2018, the Vikes women’s field hockey team clinched their 13th national title on home turf last November. In 2018, the Vikes used a two-game sweep to knock off the OUA champion York Lions, and one year later it was much of the same — as UVic defended their title with a two-game sweep over the Guelph Gryphons.
In Game One, the Vikes set the tone of the championship series from the whistle by scoring in the opening minute. With an assist by All-Canadian Anna Mollenhauer, Georgia Booker deflected the ball past Guelph’s goalkeeper Amanda Hodgert before the game was two minutes old. UVic never looked back, scoring two more goals and shutting out Guelph 3-0 in the series opener.
One night later, Mollenhauer, who has 14 international caps for the Canadian senior national team at the age of 20, would score two goals in a series-clinching 3-1 victory. Mollenhauer was also named U SPORTS National Championship MVP, as the Vikes would allow just a single goal in the two game series.
The last time UVic repeated as national champions was in 1994 and 1995, when they won a string of four titles in five years from 1991 to 1995.
Return to Playoffs for Basketball and Soccer
The past season saw a return to the postseason for sports with a proud history at UVic.
The Vikes men’s soccer team returned to the Canada West playoffs for the first time in three years by finishing third in the Pacific division with an 8-6-1 record — UVic’s best record since 2014 when they finished the season at 8-1-3. In the Canada West playoffs, UVic drew the University of Saskatchwan in the quarterfinals, and in a game with kickoff temperature hovering around -5 degrees Celsius, the Vikes were shutout 2-0.
Part of the Vikes turnaround can be contributed to Isaac Koch, who missed the entire 2018 season due to an ACL tear. Koch’s 17 points and 8 eight assists led the Canada West conference, and he would later be named Canada West Player of the year.
Meanwhile, on the hardwood, the Vikes men’s basketball team pieced together their best regular season since 2013-2014. With a 15-5 record, UVic finished fifth in Canada West and earned their first playoff win since 2015 with an 88-80 win over the Brandon Bobcats. Although UVic would fall to the fourth-seeded University of Manitoba Bisons one week later, the postseason experience should help a young team that featured eight players who are third year or younger.
First-year guard Diego Maffia, also a Victoria native, emerged as an offensive force for the Vikes in the regular season — finishing second on the team in points per game with 12.5 and fifth in minutes played.
Danielle Hanus leads Vikes in hometown Nationals
Danielle Hanus cemented her resume for UVic co-Female Athlete of the Year (with field hockey’s Anna Mollenhauer) with a dominating performance at U SPORTS nationals in Victoria.
Hanus, a fourth-year athlete from Newmarket, Ont. who has swam internationally for Canada, collected four individual gold medals in two days — highlighted by a U SPORTS record-setting swim in the 200 metre butterfly. Hanus also earned four gold medals and was named Female Swimmer of the Meet at the Canada West conference championship.
(Photo above: Armando Tura / APShutter.com)