Weekend rundown: Split series, much-needed wins and goal-fests

Though most UBC students got a much-needed holiday break this weekend, many of our T-Birds teams did not, to the delight of anyone hoping to find a game to watch on campus. With several teams playing at home, from basketball to hockey, there was lots going on in the athletics world — not to mention the host of away games happening too. Here are our top five things to note from the Thanksgiving weekend:

Second win for women’s field hockey

It’s been a bigger struggle this season than in past one’s for UBC women’s field hockey, who sat second of three in Canada West going into the weekend. With Legends Cup points on the line too, their trip to face their biggest rival, the University of Victoria, this weekend would be a tight, decisive match up for the blue and gold.

On the Island, they would claim their second win of the season, with credit due to central midfielder and veteran Margaret Pham. With injuries to Jordyn Faiczak and Hannah Eborall shaking up the team this weekend, Pham kept the roster organized while also contributing the game-winning goal on Friday. Alyssa Nonis would score UBC’s other goal in the 2-1 win.

That said, the team would face a 1-0 loss the following day, putting them at a 2-1-3 record and still sitting in second place in the division. UVic sits at the top of the division with a 3-1-2 record. Both teams have two games left to play in the Canada West regular season, leading to a tight finish for first and a national spot this year.

New scoring leaders for men’s basketball

With Conor Morgan and Phil Jalalpoor gracefully exiting their final season with the ’Birds last year, the question was left as to who would fill the shoes of the seasoned UBC powerhouses. Our answer? Grant Shephard and Jadon Cohee, or so it seems after their games this weekend in the UBC Invitational.

Through their two games this past weekend — an 86-73 win against Laval and a 91-78 win against Waterloo — Cohee notched 47 points for the ’Birds, while Shephard put up an equally impressive 46.

Grant Shephard dunks the ball for UBC.
Grant Shephard dunks the ball for UBC. Elizabeth Wang

Women’s hockey weekend turnaround

Things weren’t as easy as expected over the weekend for the women’s hockey team, as they opened their season at home against the Lethbridge Pronghorns.

On Friday night, the team were humbled by a 2-0 defeat, coming at the hands of two quick goals in the first period from Pronghorns veteran and seasoned goal-scorer Trivia Van Vaerenbergh and second-year Kyra Van Greig.

While UBC put up almost double the shots Lethbridge did in the game, ’Horns goalie Alicia Anderson stood tall in net and held the ’Birds off to claim the 2-0 win.

On Saturday afternoon, the ’Birds again dominated the shot clock, this time getting the best of Lethbridge goalie Jessica Lohues with a 3-1 win. Again, Van Vaerenbergh set UBC on an uphill climb with a seventh minute goal for the visitors. This time though, the T-Birds would rise to the occasion with a goal in the first, second and third period. Hannah Clayton-Carroll would get credit for two of the goals, while Shay-Lee McConell scored the other.

Battle on up front for men’s soccer

The fight for star striker is on for the UBC men’s soccer team, as Kristian Yli-Hietanen had another fantastic weekend up front for the ’Birds — a continuation of his four-goal game against Northern BC on September 30.

In another Legends Cup match up this weekend for the T-Birds, Yli-Hietanen netted two goals in the first half of their Thursday game against the Vikes — which they eventually won 5-0. He opened his books in the first minute of the match and doubled up just 25 minutes later. Of his three shots in the match, two found the back of the net — an impressive percentage.

He now sits at the top of the scoring table for UBC alongside Caleb Clarke, who has started three more games than Yli-Hietanen to date. Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see if head coach Mike Mosher favours the veteran or the rookie, or if he combines the two effectively on field.

It’s also important to note that Zach Verhoven assisted on both of Yli-Hietanen’s goals — they are a pairing to watch going into the final two weekends of regular season.

Five-goal flurry for women’s soccer

In a rare one-game weekend for the T-Birds, the women yet again demolished their opponent (this time, 6-1), bringing their win streak up to five games. Since their 1-0 loss to Calgary on September 15, the ’Birds have scored 19 goals and have only seen one go past them.

On Friday night, five of those scored goals racked up for the T-Birds in the final 45 minutes of their Legends Cup games against UVic — even more impressively, they came from four different players.

Tied at 1-1 going into the second half, Michelle Jang got UBC going in the 47th as she put home a rebound off of a Danielle Steer shot. Shortly after, Steer finally got her own goal to bring her season tally to seven. In the 59th, Jang double her goals on the night, beating Vikes keeper Puck Louwes with a low shot — Jang now sits on seven goals this year for the T-Birds, tied for the lead on the team with Steer.

From there, two other ’Birds would get their name on the score sheet. Midfielder Melissa Bustos would put one in in the 86th, and Liesanne Musico would put one away in the dying minutes of the match to score her first of the year.

With the win, the Thunderbirds move to an 8-2 record on the season, good enough for second place behind the 9-1 Trinity Western Spartans.