Big Bash Hopes Hang On Commitee’s Compassion

By Paul Haavardsrud

Big bash hopes hang on committee’s compassion

Parties seem to hit full stride at the post-uneasy, pre-queasy, almost lampshade time in the evening, around 12a.m. For last year’s veteran Dinosaurs field hockey team the clock struck midnight with a national tournament berth. This season,with graduation taking a large chunk out of her squad, Head Coach Deb Covey-Barnett was just trying to clean up the house before her parents got home-and she still might make it.

After traveling to the University of British Columbia and posting a 1-3 record in the year’s final Canada West field hockey tournament, the young team’s hopes for a national tournament wild card bid are hanging by the thinnest of selection committee threads.

"University of Alberta won the Canada West, but as hosts they get an automatic berth to Nationals so ubc gets their spot, which leaves UVic, who has been highly ranked all year and is almost a lock for a wild card," explained Covey-Barnett. "The chances of getting four teams from one conference to the tournament are pretty slim, but given the way we played the top teams in the country tough all year, I know we’re definitely getting consideration for the other wild card slot."

With the departure of nine fifth-year players, the barely-dilated pupils of the rookie-laden squad were struck hard by the painful rays of the morning sun. Fortunately, in what could be viewed as a classic rebuilding year, the morning after has not been too rough for Covey-Barnett’s young team. Unlike the retooling eVorts of the Dallas Mavericks, Indianapolis Colts, or Los Angeles Clippers, the Dinos’ stop in the house of mediocrity looks to be only temporary.

"I’m really excited about next season. The final scores might not have shown it, but except for a few miscues we played right with the best teams in the country," said an enthusiastic Covey-Barnett. "The mistakes that led to goals were mostly due to inexperience and those are what I like to call correctable errors. They’re going to learn a lot in the next few months and next year we won’t be making those types of mistakes."

"On the weekend, ubc scored with 20 seconds left to win 1-0," recalled third-year defender and tournament all-star Teresa Mclachlan. "Losses like that are pretty heartbreaking, but they’re learning experiences and I know we’ll be better next year."

Part of that improvement lies in the quickly improving hands of players like rookie left-winger Ashley Reaburn.

"The game is a lot faster and more demanding than high school. It took some time for us to get adjusted, but we have a lot of potential and, well, I think we’re going to be really good," stated the junior national team member simply.

For some of the older players, the burden of preparing the house for another shaker has its ups and downs.

"After playing on a team with nine fifth-year players, at times things have been a little frustrating," confessed fifth-year mid-fielder Mindy Bellingham. "I am impressed with the way they’ve learned and grown and I’ve tried to help show them what it takes. They’ve got a good team and I know they’ll be good in the future."

After a season’s worth of valuable experience, the clock on the wall of the Dinos field hockey office reads about a quarter past 11 in the a.m. With the morning almost over, Covey-Barnett hopes the little hand spins quickly through the short hours of a winter afternoon and right into early evening. Next year’s National dance starts about nine-ish-everybody who is anybody will be there-hopefully the Dinos are not late.

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