By Ryan Laverty
After a solid showing at home in the first tournament of the Canada West season, the Dinos women’s field hockey team looked like a German sports car doing 90, flying down the open road to Manitoba. But I regret to inform you, the foreign roadster is no more.
Whether due to a lack of steering or the wheels simply coming off, the Dinos crashed last weekend in Winnipeg. The sleek lines and smooth handling of week one is now a pile of twisted metal and broken glass.
Calgary’s ranking of sixth in the nation meant absolutely nothing to the rest of the Canada West field. The Dinos got little respect and really didn’t demand any in their brutal showing at the University of Manitoba-hosted tourney. The team towed an uninspired 0-3-1 record back to Southern Alberta.
"We played well enough to win every game," explained frustrated Head Coach Carl Dalton. "But we did not take opportunities. And we allowed very, very soft goals."
According to Dalton the damage was caused inside the attacking and defending 25-yard marks where the team made bad choices and bad mistakes. Unfortunately, no team has ever won a game by only controlling the play at midfield–inside the 25s are the critical areas.
"Our focus is not intense enough to make the most of our opportunities," said Dalton. "I don’t know why other teams are more motivated than we are but that’s where we fall down. We have the skill level but we struggle under pressure to bring that out."
The weekend wasn’t a total writeoff, as the girls mustered yet another tie with the University of Victoria. But going into the final tournament of the season Oct. 19-21 at UVic, the team knows they are facing a huge task if they expect to prolong their season.
Fourth-year forward Kelsey Barrie understands the enormity of the situation and is confident the team will come through in the clutch.
"We have to do what we are capable of doing and I know we’ll be successful," explained Barrie. "We have to win three games [in Victoria]. It’ll definitely be a challenge but we’re a team that should be up there–we’re just struggling."
While Coach Dalton may not share Barrie’s confidence in the team making playoffs, he will force the team to do some "soul-searching" and try to rectify some of the individual errors.
"It’s crunch time. We have to win at least two matches to even be considered a half-decent side. The pressure’s on us now and the players are well aware of that," said Dalton. "It’s a matter of taking opportunities. It’s a matter of doing more with what you get."
The Dinos will try to hit the brakes on the downward skid of their season over the next couple of weeks.