VICTORIA - Reigning Women's Adidas Premiership champions Velox Valkyries followed up their 2012 provincial title with a Vancouver Island title this past weekend, going 8-1 against regional competition.
The Valkyries dropped their season opener to Cowichan - their first loss in two years - but stormed back with eight straight wins to defend their Island championship.
It was an impressive run considering the squad was in a transition period for the Fall season with a new head coach and a number of players missing due to injuries and retirement from the game.
"We lost a a lot of players from last year's championship team but it has been an exciting past few months because we have some new players coming in and making an impact," said Marlene Donaldson, the Valkyries head coach for the Fall season. "We spent much of the first half really focusing on skill development and opening up to more of a team game. You can really see a progression from where we started and the team looks strong heading into the Spring season where they will be up against tougher competition in the Premiership."
Velox's roster featured a trio of tested veterans in scrum half Lindsay Anderson, utility forward Brittany Simms and Selinna McGinnis who had a seamless transition to fly half this year. Returning sisters Karen and Lisa Battie also made a strong impact and made their presence felt both in the centres and in the back row.
New additions to watch in the Spring season include full back Monique Boag as well as Aurora Barbarians product Ali McKittrick.
"Ali injured her shoulder early in the season but you could tell she is top level player and the club is excited to see her back in action," added Donaldson. "There is so much potential in this team and I'm sure they will stand up to the pressure against province-wide competition."
Donaldson has now relocated to the Lower Mainland where she will be tackling her new role as the Girls Youth Rugby Development Officer with BC Rugby. While she will still suit up for the Valkyries, she will be leaving her post as head coach of the women's program in the New Year.
"I really enjoyed the experience of coaching the team and I hope to still contribute as player on the field next season," Donaldson added.
2012 VIRU Senior Women's League Standings
Velox (8-1, 89% winning percentage)
UVic (3-1, 75%)
Cowichan (6-3, 67%)
Nananaimo (5-4, 56%)
Comox (2-7, 22%)
Port Alberni (0-4-0-4)
Related links: Valkyries seeking head coach for 2013 season