After a busy season of international field hockey with Team Canada, Kelowna’s Abigail Raye and Natalie Sourisseau closed out 2013 with memorable performances on the national stage.
Raye was named the MVP and Sourisseau was a tournament all-star, as the UBC Thunderbirds captured the Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s title Sunday in Victoria.
UBC defeated the host University of Victoria Vikes 4-1 in the final to give the T’Birds a record third consecutive national title and 15th in the school’s history.
Raye, who completed her fourth season with the Canada West program in Vancouver, was thrilled to once again wear the gold medal.
“Winning the championship again is great,” said Raye, 22, who also played with Sourisseau at KSS. “We’re so close as a team, it was nice to come together and win…really an amazing feeling. I’m especially happy for my teammates who are leaving the program and got to win it in their last year.”
As for earning the tournament’s most valuable player award, Raye regards it as a nice bonus for a season of hard work.
“It’s really a nice honour,” Raye said of the MVP recognition. “It’s always great to be recognized, I’ve put so much of my life into field hockey and have so much fun playing it, it’s really a nice reward.”
Both Raye and Sourisseau were coming off a busy and productive year of international field hockey with the Canadian senior women’s team, which included a bronze medal effort at the Pan Am Cup in Argentina.
With 95 caps, Raye is soon to become the youngest Canadian player ever to reach the century mark in international field hockey appearances—likely early in 2014.
“It’s come around pretty quickly,” Raye said of her impending 100th cap. “I’m really excited to have a chance to do that at such a young age.”
Sourisseau, 20, is in her third year with the Canadian senior program and has 46 caps to her credit.
Meanwhile, another former KSS player, Stefanie Hatch, was a member of the runner-up Victoria Vikes at the CIS finals.