By Ryan Laverty
In the first tournament of the Canada West season the Dinos field hockey team clawed their way up the Canadian Interuniversity Sport rankings. By ending the weekend with a 1-2-1 record they moved from eighth to sixth in the national rankings.
Despite a losing record, the Dinos played well in front of a hometown crowd at McMahon Stadium this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday–they actually played three of the top five teams in the nation. The universities of Victoria, British Columbia, and Alberta started the tourney ranked first, third and fifth respectively.
Given the proximity of the teams, and the short season, Canada West teams play tournaments to finish at the same time as the teams back East. So, the University of Calgary welcomed the three aforementioned squads as well as the perennial doormat–the University of Manitoba–to "cowtown" to do battle.
The field hockeysaurs kicked the tournament off with a huge game against the Victoria Vikings on Friday afternoon. The visitors exerted their force early on, with a goal by Chelsea Haines 13 minutes into the opening frame. They maintained dominance through nearly the entire game. Nearly.
Dinos fifth year forward Kelsey Barrie drew the team even at the 50-minute mark and the team held on for a 1-1 draw with the CIS defending champs.
Saturday morning the girls brought an equally solid effort to the field, but the result was not as favourable. UBC proved themselves to be a powerful opponent once again this year winning the game 2-0 as the Dinos just could not find the net.
"It’s definitely disappointing," explained Head Coach Carl Dalton. "We played them very well all game long, but we had two or three silly mistakes and they finished their chances."
Manitoba, the only unranked team in the conference, was clearly outmatched by a fired up Dinos squad. The local crew put the pressure on the Bisons early and often. They were rewarded with a goal by Amy Sanderson near the close of the first half. After the break, the momentum shifted slightly for the first few minutes, but the Dinos weathered the storm and reapplied their own force.
A series of short corners led to marks by Morgan Mallet and Ashley Reaburn. Reaburn’s goal was a testament to the work this team put in during the off and pre-season. Mallet’s pass to Reaburn in front of the net was quickly redirected to a teammate. In a move reminiscent of a Kariya-Selanne connection, Reaburn moved past the defender, received the ball back and fired it through the defenceless keeper. After the game, Reaburn put the win in perspective, and revealed what is really important.
"We’ve worked really hard this year," glowed Reaburn. "This was a big win for us, but I want to beat U of A tomorrow."
Unfortunately the girls will have to wait until the next Canada West tournament in Manitoba, Oct. 5-7, to beat the Pandas. The Dinos took on U of A on Sunday but dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to their provincial rivals.
"I think we’ve done a lot of things well this weekend," chimed Dalton. "If we can start finishing our chances we’ll be very competitive."