|Denise Kolosky returns an interception for a touchdown.|
On Sunday at Saskatoon Minor Football Field, the eight-year veteran with the Saskatoon Valkyries hit the highlight reel with a defensive score.
Lining up at defensive end late in the second quarter of a Western Women’s Canadian Football League quarter-final game against the Winnipeg Wolfpack, Kolosky dropped into a passing lane and picked off quarterback Rebecka Clark.
Kolosky dashed 36 yards up the right sideline for a touchdown. It marked the first time she returned an interception for a major score in her football career.
The score put the Valkyries up 57-0 as they cruised to a 66-0 victory.
Saskatoon came out with an inspired effort playing for late defensive position coach Justin Filteau, who passed away tragically in a plane crash on June 1. Filteau coached the defensive line this season having previously coached the linebackers since he joined the club’s coaching staff in 2017.
|The Valkyries celebrate a touchdown from Denise Kolosky (#44).|
Kolosky couldn’t believe how fast her pick six developed.
“It just happened,” said Kolosky. “I caught it, and I was ‘go!’ That was it.
“I was just thinking don’t look back. That is a huge milestone for me, a huge one. I love it.”
During a contest where numerous members of the Valkyries had big games, head coach Pat Barry pleased that Kolosky was able to have a big moment with a defensive score.
“I’m so happy for Denise,” said Barry. “She is one of my favourite people that I know not just in football.
|Emmarae Dale (#45) nails a Wolfpack ball carrier.|
“She is great mom to her family. Her kids are always running around here with (her husband) Colin (Kolosky). She is a great lady. I’m very proud of her.”
The Valkyries shot out of the gate quickly in Sunday’s post-season clash. Just 64 seconds into the opening quarter, star running back Sam Matheson ripped off a 40-yard touchdown run down the right sideline to give the Valkyries a 6-0 lead.
Just over four minutes later, quarterback Alex Eyolfson hit rookie receiver Haley Girolami on a 43-yard bomb pass to extend the Valkyries edge to 13-0.
With 2:36 remaining in the opening quarter, running back Sarah Wright ran home a touchdown from seven yards out to put the Valkyries up 20-0. Matheson added a single from a missed field goal from 27 yards out as time expired in the first quarter to give the hosts a 21-0 lead.
|Sarah Wright (#88) dashes home on a 42-yard touchdown run.|
Sophomore receiver Danielle Girolami hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarter Reed Thorstad. Matheson added her second major on a 12-yard run.
Wright ripped of a 42-yard touchdown run. The Wolfpack conceded a safety.
Rookie running back Natasha Englot ran in a pair of touchdowns from one and 10 yards out. Kolosky had her interception return for a major score between Englot’s two touchdowns.
The Valkyries rounded the game’s scoring in the second half with a 31-yard punt single from Rienna Rueve in the third quarter and a 27-yard punt single from Matheson in the fourth quarter.
|Rienna Rueve (#7) returns an interception for the Valkyries.|
Wright had the biggest game of the day offensively for the Valkyries carrying the ball nine times for 120 yards to go with her two scores.
“We were doing fairly well blocking,” said Wright. “Once we kind of got in a groove, everything was starting to fall into place.”
Wright said it has been fun to run behind a veteran offensive line including right tackle Betsy Mawdsley, right guard Lauren Ferguson, centre Eden Rakochy, left guard Ashley Viklund and left tackle Alyssa Funk.
“They are just trying to improve all the time,” said Wright. “It is awesome that they are doing everything they can to get us as many yards as they can.”
|Members of the Saskatoon Hilltops are out supporting the Valkyries.|
Defensively, middle linebacker Emmarae Dale topped the Valkyries with 9.5 total tackles. Linebacker Jamie Wingate had a sack, while Dayna Bear and Danaye Holynski split a sack on the defensive line.
Rueve had an interception from her safety position.
Defensive back Mobina Mosallat topped the Wolfpack with 8.5 total tackles.
Barry thought his team’s performance on Sunday was a fitting way to honour Filteau’s memory.
The Valkyries have dedicated their season to Filteau, who was a
standout at linebacker for both the CJFL’s Saskatoon Hilltops and U Sports’
University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
|Sam Matheson (#22) ran in two rushing touchdowns for the Valkyries.|
“Justin (Filteau) did a lot for us,” said Barry. “To not have him there was very difficult this week.
“I was very happy with the players today. He would have enjoyed it. Even a lot of the music we have going on right now, Justin (Filteau) loved these songs.
“It is not an accident that they have it playing. It is pretty exciting.”
With the win, the Valkyries, who were 4-0 in the regular season, improve their overall record to 6-0. The Wolfpack, who were 0-4 in the regular season, finish at 0-5 overall.
The Valkyries advance to host a WWCFL semifinal game against the Lethbridge Steel (3-2 overall) on June 23 at 1 p.m. at SMF Field.
The other semifinal features the defending WWCFL champion Regina Riot (2-3 overall) taking on the Edmonton Storm (4-1 overall) in the Alberta capital. That contest will be played either on June 22 or 23.
|The Valkyries celebrate their win over the Wolfpack.|
Kolosky is looking forward to the fact the Valkyries will continue their playoff run and said it never gets old being a member of Saskatoon’s WWCFL team.
“It is amazing the love you feel from each and every player,” said Kolosky. “All the hugs I got after my interception touchdown, it was awesome. I can’t explain it.”
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