Last year saw Kingâ€™s take an early lead on Day 1 after they won both the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s hockey matches, before they were eventually pegged back their varsity rivals UCL 8-5 overall. But can they recreate their opening day success again this year?
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Fencing was the penultimate event in 2014 and proved to be crucial. Wins for both mens and womens teams on the Thursday helped UCL overturn the 5-4 lead Kingâ€™s had held overnight and established a lead that UCL would hold to the finish.
This year sees fencing take centre stage as the curtain opener for the 2015 varsity series and with entry free at Wilkins Cloisters at UCL there is no excuse to miss the show.
KCL Menâ€™s currently sit second in BUCS South Eastern Division 2A and have only suffered one defeat all season. They are on course to bounce back from relegation from Division 1A last season at the first attempt and have also made it to the Semi Finals of the BUCS South Eastern Conference Cup. .
Captain: Brynmor Saunders, 2nd Year, Geography.
How has your season gone so far? Mostly good, weâ€™ve won five matches and only lost once and are still in the cup. The promotion push will be tight.
How do you rate your chances of Varsity success? We have a big job to do. It is very difficult to cause upsets in fencing matches and we are going in very much as the underdogs. However, we have a stronger team than last year and Iâ€™m confident we can give it a very serious go.
UCL Menâ€™s finished third in the BUCS Premier South Division this season in a tight league, and were only six points off finishing top and improving on their second place finish last year. The side have also find themselves in the Semi Finals of the BUCS Fencing Championship and will be aiming to finish one better than their runner-up position last season.
KCL Womenâ€™s are the team to beat in South Eastern Division 1A as they sit top of the league unbeaten and all-but-certain favourites to secure back to back promotions after topping Division 2A in 2014.
Captain: Anouk Vincenti, 3rd Year, Neuroscience.
How has Â your season gone so far? So far my team has been unbeaten in Division 1A and we are 99% sure to win it and we canâ€™t wait to fence the playoff for the premier league. Itâ€™s been quite a journey considering we only have five (instead of nine) fencers, two of which are postgrads and not always available. So most of our matches are played with 3 girls to fence 135 hits!
How do you rate your chances of Varsity success? We are all very excited to play in Varsity even though we expect a very high level from UCL. I honestly donâ€™t think we can win it overall because we donâ€™t have a sabre team and they do, but I do think we can put up a better fight than last year.
Win of the season: 107 – 102 vs. Royal Holloway. The match was the first of the season, and with both postgraduate fencers unable to play it was left to Vincenti and two other players to try to secure the win. In the end the side came over the disadvantage and won the match by 5 points. On the victory captain Vencenti stated; â€˜Being able to win like that with everything against us shows that we have a very reliable team of experienced fencers that can rely on technique and put aside physical conditions on the day.
Player to watch: Allie Blankenhaus has been a key fencer in the successful Kingâ€™s Womenâ€™s team this season. Despite being a foilist she manages at sabre and epee too. Captain, Vincenti, has highlighted Balnkenhuasâ€™ importance to the side, stating that: â€˜She definitely brings my foil team up one notchâ€™.
Last season saw UCL Womens finish top and win promotion from South Eastern Division 1A and take home the BUCS Womenâ€™s Fencing Trophy. This season they adapted well to life in the Premier South and finished third, and are in the semi finals of the cup once again.
Hockey opened the 2014 varsity series and set Kingâ€™s off to a flying start with both menâ€™s and womenâ€™s teams securing victories leaving Kingâ€™s in a fantastic position at the start of the tournament. Once again this year Hockey features on the first day of varsity in 2015 and promises another exciting affair under the lights of the Olympic Park.
Kingâ€™s have gone one better than their narrow second place finish in BUCS South Eastern Division 2B last year and secured the league title and gained promotion on Wednesday with a win against Imperial. The side have also made it to BUCS South Eastern Conference Cup semi-finals and will be eyeing double success this season.
Captain: Sheridan Leech, 3rd year, History
How has your season gone so far? Kingâ€™s have had a very good year wrapping up the league title last Wednesday and gaining promotion in the process. Weâ€™ve only lost one game and weâ€™re still in the hunt for another three trophies as the result of a good cup run.
How excited do you feel about the chance to captain your side at varsity? Itâ€™s an honour to lead the guys and Iâ€™ve enjoyed it all year. I think that nerves are a good thing and the boys have always stepped up to the occasion so that gives me a great deal of confidence. Iâ€™m excited for the buzz of the Olympic stadium and the event as a whole. It was the highlight of the year last year coming back from two nil down to beat UCL and Iâ€™m sure this year will be even better.
How do you rate your chances of Varsity success? It is a tough one to call. Both sides have preformed well in their respective leagues and theyâ€™ve got some good players. As we learned last year, league position, cup success and the form guide all go out the window for a one off game. Ultimately though, weâ€™re always going to back ourselves.
Match of the season: 3-3 vs Cantebury. Kingâ€™s men were 3-0 down to their league title rivals at half time before the side came out reinvigorated at halftime and put in some excellent effort to turn around the tie and secure a point.
2014-15 has proven to be a tough year for the side which won both BUCS South Eastern Division 1A and finished second in the LUSL Premier Division last year. This year they languish second bottom of South Eastern Division 1A and bottom of the LUSL Premier.
KCL Women’s Hockey are having a dream season in 2014-15. The side have secured the BUCS South Eastern Division 1A with a game to spare and have all but wrapped up the LUSL Premier after winning every match so far this season. Alongside league success the side find themselves in the LUSL Hockey cup semi-finals and their only defeat this season in all competitions was on a penalty shoot-out.
Captain: Kathryn Lang, 3rd Year, Pharmacy (MA).
How has your season gone so far? KCL first XI have had an outstanding season so far. With one match to go we have won South East Division 1A in style having scored 53 goals and conceded only 6. We are all very excited at the prospect of premier league hockey action next season!
How excited do you feel about the chance to captain your side at Varsity? I has been an absolute pleasure to play amongst this squad it what will be the most successful season Kingâ€™s College Hockey has seen seen. The opportunity to captain my university to varsity is a very exciting prospect and one I take very seriously.
How do you rate your chances of Varsity success? We are working very hard in the run up to the match and I doubt we will dissapoint. Having won both of our encounters in the league with UCL on paper our chances of winning Varsity are high, however we are not a squad that carries any arrogance. We will put out a great fight and superb skills to hopefully put the cherry on top of what has been an unbelievable season.
Win of the season: 8-0 vs UCL. The side faced their varsity opponents earlier in the season away from home and managed to record their biggest league victory. A closely contested, feisty first half was followed by an outstanding performance in the second by the Kingâ€™s women who went into overdrive and scored 7 goals in 35 minutes.
Player to watch: Stephanie Burns managed to put 5 past UCL the last time these two sides met earlier in the season and the attack minded player will be central to the Kingâ€™s sideâ€™s performance again at Varsity. Burns is notorious for her hard work on the pitch and scoring ability, with captain, Lang, stating: “I think I speak for the whole squad here when I say you would rather be playing with her than against her!”
A tough season for UCL Womens so far has seen the side pick up only two wins in their 13 league matches in 2014-15. In BUCS South Eastern Division 1A they finished in 4th place and with only two matches left to play in the LUSL Premier Division season they occupy bottom of the league with five losses from five.