For the first time in WestVic Hockey’s history, both the men’s and women’s team will step out on Saturday to play in the Vic League one competition.
Prince of Wales Reserve will host the double-header against La Trobe University, with the men beginning at 2pm followed by the women at 3.30pm.
Following an impressive season in Vic League two which saw it make the grand final, the WestVic women have made the jump to the tier below the premier league.
WestVic Hockey media manager and player Jamie Lovett said both groups have different goals for this season.
For the women, the challenge will be adapting to the higher level and avoiding relegation while for the men, they will be looking to build towards a finals berth after finishing sixth last season.
“Both our sections have different goals. Their (the women) challenge is to stay promoted. Your first year there is the toughest, readjusting to a new standard of competition,” Lovett said.
“As for the men’s side, we finished mid-table last year, so our aim is to push for finals and make a top two spot.
“The women are a very tight-knit group, they don’t quite have as many players as the men, but that helps with that team-bonding.
"The key thing is going to be, there will be three or four sides competing to fight relegation, so the aim will be to beat those three sides – it’ll ensure they stay up there and push on for the year after.”
Women’s coach Michael Poulton echoed Lovett’s thoughts.
“The team has been re-shaped over the summer with the promotion of some great young players who are looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead,” Poulton said.
The men’s side will be boosted by the recruitment of three Australian Country players – Craig Conn, Jayden Gulson and Max Ferrier.
Conn will play a key role as the side’s new goalkeeper.
Coach Chris Vaughan said the group would be aiming to make the finals for the first time following a strong off-season.
“The WestVic men aim to take the next step and make the finals for the first time,” Vaughan said.
The reserves begin at 12.30pm.