By Sean Trembath, The StarPhoenix
Just one more game stands between the Saskatoon Valkyries and next weekend's Western Women's Canadian Football League (WWCFL) championship game in Saskatoon. On Sunday, the Valkyries will host the Regina Riot in the WWCFL Prairie Conference final at Griffiths Stadium, with the winner going on to play for the league trophy next Saturday.
Anything less than a title would be a huge disappointment for the Valkyries, who have yet to lose a game in their two years in the league. So far this year they've outscored opponents 212-34.
As with all of their games this year, one of the main focuses going into Sunday will be not getting overconfident.
"Our coaches have been telling us the Regina girls want this bad. They want it more than us, because we've been winning and everyone wants to beat the winning team," said Valkyries linebacker Beth Thomson.
Saskatoon and Regina met twice during the regular season this year, with the Valkyries winning 36-6 and 35-16. According to Thomson, the Riot improved noticeably between the two contests.
"They've been practicing hard too. They've improved a lot," she said.
The Valkyries have been studying film from their previous meetings with Regina, and developed a game plan based on what they saw.
"Their quarterback, Aimee Kowalski, is probably their best player. We want to try to keep her in the pocket. If we can keep her in the pocket, and force her to throw the ball, we're in a way better situation, because whether we're in zone or man we'll have pretty good coverage downfield," said Jeff Yausie, head coach of the Valkyries.
It's been two weeks since the team's last game, a 56-0 thrashing of the Manitoba Fearless in the conference semifinal.
"You're kind of always wary of bye weeks, because sometime you come out a little sluggish, but for whatever reason, the way the schedule was for our league, I think it was the third time we've had a bye. So I guess we're getting used to it," said Yausie.
While winning is the goal of any season, this year's Valkyries have a bit of extra motivation thanks to the championship game being in Saskatoon.
"That is super exciting. Last year we went out to Lethbridge (for the championship), and we had a couple of fans, but this year, if we actually make it, and it's a home game, that's going to be big. We really want to have two more games. I'm hoping we make it," said Thomson.
The WWCFL Prairie Conference Final between the Saskatoon Valkyries and the Regina Riot is this Sunday at Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon. Kickoff is 1 p.m.