AHL clean sweep for Victoria
Monday, 09 October 2017
The Victorian Vipers and Vikings have emerged from the Australian Hockey League Championships victorious, taking both the men’s and women’s titles in dramatic fashion for the first time in the state’s history.
The Victorian Vipers set the stage for a Victorian takeover of the AHL,defeating Queensland 2-1 in a shootout at Perth Hockey Stadium on Sunday, before the Vikings were then able to seal the deal against Queensland, 3-0, to give Victoria a clean sweep of the silverware.
VIS scholarship holder, Georgia Nanscawen played a key role in the Vipers win, sinking a game-saving goal for the Victorians with 14 seconds left on the clock to tie up the scores 2-2 and send the match into a shootout.
VIS scholarship holder and Viper’s goal keeper, Rachael Lynch, took to the spotlight, successfully defending four of five attempts at goal to clinch the title for the Vipers.
It’s the first time the Vipers have taken home the AHL title since 2012, ending Queensland’s two-year reign.
After the match, Nanscawen described the moment she equalised the game as surreal:
“It’s something you dream about and when it happens I don’t even know what to say,” said Nanscawen.
“We’re just over the moon. I’m so proud of our team,” she said.
Then Victorian Vikings then went on to defeat Queensland 3-0 and successfully defend their AHL title , their fourth ever for the competition.
The Vikings came from behind to secure the win with the match playing out in a similar fashion to the Viper’s match, as Vikings Captain Chris Ciriello scored the match equaliser in the 52nd minute to send the final into a shootout.
It was a team effort in the shootout, with VIS scholarship holders James Webster, Josh Pollard and Aaron Kleinschmidt all finding the back of the net, while Vikings goalkeeper Johan Durst made three saves, securing the title for the Victorians.
Victorian captain Chris Ciriello said that the team fought hard for the win:
“We had a few games where we were behind and had to really dig deep. We had some cards and all the rest of it,” said Ciriello.
“From a group of guys who really fought hard, I couldn’t be prouder as a captain,” he said.
The awards didn’t stop there for the Victorians, with several players awarded individual titles too.
Viper’s Rachel Lynch was awarded Player of the Final for her outstanding performance throughout the match. She was also awarded Goalkeeper of the Tournament, as was Viking’s goalkeeper Johan Durst.
While Emily Hurtz was awarded the female top scorer award in conjunction with West Australian Penny Squibb, and Chris Ciriello took home the male equivalent with Tasmanian Kieron Arthur.
The Victorian Vipers were also awarded the female Play The Whistle award, commending the team for their excellent sportsmanship throughout the tournament.