Sports

KSS Owls gearing up for another run at title

 Stephanie Hatch of KSS  (left) challenges Penticton’s Rebecca Brisson for the ball during a recent match that saw the two Okanagan rivals square off. Kelowna won 3-0 and hopes to continue its winning ways throughout the remainder of the season. -  Sean Connor/Capital News
Stephanie Hatch of KSS (left) challenges Penticton’s Rebecca Brisson for the ball during a recent match that saw the two Okanagan rivals square off. Kelowna won 3-0 and hopes to continue its winning ways throughout the remainder of the season.
— image credit: Sean Connor/Capital News

The Kelowna Secondary School Owls have won seven provincial field hockey championships, the most of any school in the province.

The problem is, the school has been stuck on seven for a several years.

Despite having one of the best programs in the province during the past five years, the Owls have been just shy of winning provincial banner number eight since claiming its last title 2001.

The team has finished second, third, fourth and sixth at the provincials in the past four years, losing in overtime in the final one year and coming up just short in the others.

“We want a blue (B.C. championship) banner badly,” said KSS field hockey manager Lorne Buna.

“We lost it a couple years ago in overtime and that left a bitter taste in our mouths.

“ The girls know field hockey at KSS is a real tradition. We always say we want to put up another banner in the gym. KSS has more provincial championships than any other school but we’re stuck on seven.”

Once again this year the Owls will be a force in the Okanagan Valley and in the province with a balanced team that can score, can play defense and can run with any team in the league.

The Owls have been scored on in only one game so far this season, a 4-0 loss to powerful West Vancouver at the UBC tournament last weekend.

Prior to that KSS earned wins over Handsworth and Argyle, two Coastal teams that are also expected to challenge for the provincial title.

“We beat those teams 2-0 and 1-0,” said Buna.

“Those were good wins. Against West Vancouver we missed a good opportunity to score early in the game and then they came back and scored. It was the first goal we allowed all year and we kind of sagged after that.”

The Owls continue to be the class of the Okanagan as rarely are they challenged in the Okanagan Valley league.

On Wednesday, the Owls beat South Kamloops 7-0 in a game that Buna said they played poorly in.

The lack of competitive teams in the Okanagan makes it challenging when the club heads to the Lower Mainland to face top teams.

“We have to realize that even in the games in the Interior we have to play hard and do the things that you have to do against the tough teams,” said Buna. “It’s a learning situation. That’s why we need to go to the coast and play more games.”

KSS is heading back to Vancouver for a couple of exhibition games prior to the provincials, to be held at Burnaby Nov. 14 to 16.

With a mix of players in from Grade 12 down to Grade 10, the future of field hockey remains strong at KSS.

And, while the provincials remain the big goal for the club, putting a competitive team on the field and continuing the tradition is also high on the list.

“We’ve got a good core group of Grade 12s, some Grade 11s that are learning and some Grade 10s that are coming along really well,” said Buna. “That’s going to bode well for the future.”

KSS will host its annual Golden Pumpkin tournament Oct. 12 and 13.

kparnell@kelownacapnews.com

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