Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Valkyries in the news

Valkyries bounce back with blowout
Don Rice for The StarPhoenix, June 22, 2015


After their largest defeat in franchise history last month, the Saskatoon Valkyries regrouped in a big way for their first playoff game on Sunday.

The Valkyries handed the visiting Winnipeg Wolfpack a 66-7 blowout loss in Western Women’s Canadian Football League Prairie Conference semifinal action at Saskatoon Minor Football Field. The four-time defending league champion Valkyries had been licking their wounds since losing 49-9 to the Regina Riot on May 30. Now they will get a rematch against the Riot in the Prairie Conference final in Regina on Sunday.

“We were hoping to (dominate the game),” said Valkyries receiver Marci Kiselyk. “We’ve been feeling a little out of sorts the last month or so. We were really hoping to have a really dominant win and sort of reassert who we are. It’s important to have that sense of identity. We were a little lacking in ours and we saw it out there today.”

The Valkyries’ quick-strike offence was most evident early on. They scored five touchdowns on their first nine offensive plays. Kiselyk started it off on the very first Valkyrie play on offence, hauling in a Stacey Boldt pass and dodging numerous tackles on her way to a 61-yard touchdown.

On the next Valkyrie offensive play, Julene Friesen turned a corner and tiptoed down the sidelines for a 74-yard touchdown run. Two more Valkyrie plays later and Carly Dyck was hauling in Boldt’s second TD toss, a 48-yarder. Friesen capped off the first quarter scoring with an electric 96-yard touchdown run and a 28-0 lead.

Kiselyk, Dyck each added their second TDs of the game while Friesen added her third in the second quarter: Kiselyk on a 35-yard pass, Dyck on a 77-yard reception and Friesen on a 76-yard run. Kelsey Murphy also scored on a 27-yard run for the Valkyries who were up 56-0 at halftime.

Rienna Rueve added a fourth-quarter 22-yard field goal, as well as converting all nine Valkyries touchdowns. Sam Matheson closed out the Valkyrie scoring with a 26-yard touchdown run. Char Mash-Hadlow finally put the Wolfpack on the board in the fourth, hauling in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Amy Mohr.

Saskatoon Valkyries head coach Jeff Yausie said the blowout to Regina was a turning point for his squad.

“After that big loss to Regina we changed a lot of things with our team and how we practise,” Yausie said. “We have had about 30 new players over the last two years (on their current 46 player roster). So we felt that we needed more practice time to work on fundamentals and work on some new systems that we changed. That was a reaction to how we were playing in the middle of the season.”

The Riot defeated the Manitoba Fearless 73-0 in the other Prairie Conference semifinal on Sunday. The final between the Valkyries and Riot goes on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Mosaic Stadium in Regina. The winner will move on to the WWCFL championship game on July 5 in Winnipeg.