By Ryan Laverty
There is a nervous excitement surrounding the 2001/02 version of Dinos field hockey. With the departure of Teresa McLaughlin, an all-universe defender, Allison Johnson, a 2000/01 Gauntlet Extra Effort award winner, and big-time goal scorer, Jenny Gobin, there could be reason to worry. But, the new man at the helm doesn’t seem overly concerned.
"We definitely have our work cut out for us," explained Head Coach Carl Dalton. "It will be a challenge to mould this team together in the few weeks before the season starts but that’s what is great about the situation."
The Dinos welcomed Dalton’s new face earlier this summer when he took the reins from former coach Anne Kromm. But it seems Dalton is likely to be one of the only new faces to grace the pitch this season. With very few recruits coming to the Dinos–a couple hot prospects opted to go east to Manitoba and a third joined the University of Alberta Golden Pandas–Dalton is looking within the squad to find players to fill holes. And he seems quite confident it will happen.
"We’ve got a lot of players who could step up. It’s just a matter of who will take the responsibility and when."
Two notable potential leaders seem to be Carolyn Fitzgerald and Ashley Reaburn. Fitzgerald, a transfer student from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., was forced to sit out last year due to Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union regulations. But while she did not suit up for the Dinos last season, she was keeping her game sharp playing for provincial and club teams.
"We are excited about Carolyn joining the team because she is so versatile," noted Dalton. "She can play on the back line, in the middle or she can play up front and score goals."
In contrast to Fitzgerald, Reaburn is entering her fourth year with the University of Calgary side, and seems excited about getting the season underway. After an intense summer of competition with the likes of Canada’s Junior National Team and Alberta’s provincial squad only one thing seems to matter with the dawn of the varsity season fast-approaching.
"We have to beat U of A," declared Reaburn. "I will not lose to them this year."
In addition to Fitzgerald and Reburn, Dalton is excited about redshirt freshman goaltender, Burgundy Biletski. After a summer of senior women’s field hockey and under-21 national competition, Biletski is a ready alternative to perennial keeper, Erin Bush.
"Both girls offer different strengths and different weaknesses," explained the coach. "One is great at blocking long shots and such, while the other can really lay out to stop short corners." The rules of the sport enables substitution of goalies the same way as players, so the differences should benefit the
A fairly young squad, this year’s Dinos field hockey contingent will need all the help they can get, especially if they hope to climb out of the tough Canada West Conference and make a serious run at a championship. No one should hold their breath but if things go Carl Dalton’s way, this team just might surprise some people.