The young and the winless

By Katie Hobday

If optimism and enthusiasm were the keys to winning field hockey games, the Dinos would be in the top seat in Canada West. Unfortunately, these statistics aren’t recorded, and the team has slipped into fourth place after a disappointing home tournament Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

The Dinos lost 3-0 to the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, 2-1 to the University of Alberta Pandas and 3-0 to the University of Victoria Vikes.

“Obviously, we would have liked to do a little better. Because we gave up some goals, we put ourselves in a difficult position for the next Canada West tournament,” said Allison Shafer, who scored the Dinos’ lone goal on a penalty corner.

“It was pretty exciting,” she said of the goal, “but it was kind of a blur, our first goal on our home turf against U of A, our biggest rivals.”

The excitement over this first regular season goal was abruptly halted when the Pandas answered with a late game goal to clinch the win.

“The loss to U of A was a heartbreaker, I’m not going to lie,” said Assistant Coach Carolyn Fitzgerald of the close match against the Pandas.

Though the teams were tied 1-1 at the beginning of the second half, the young Dinos weren’t sure how to maintain it.

“It was a lack of experience and composure near the end of the game,” she explained.

“We weren’t tough enough. We weren’t focused mentally,” said Tanis Bartolome, who played hard all weekend despite spraining her ankle during Friday’s game against UBC. “To be mentally tough, you have to push through it every second. We lost our focus and they capitalised on that.”

The team is working on this for their next tournament.

“We are looking to play 70 minutes of field hockey, not 65 with five minutes on our heels,” she added.

Though the scores don’t reflect any wins, the weekend wasn’t a total loss.

“We started getting more penalty corners, and we were generating more shots on net,” said Fitzgerald.

“Every game we progressed,” Bartolome agreed. “We know what we need to work on and what we need to accomplish to be more successful. Everybody is still positive and confident, but we just have to work harder.”

The good news is that a playoff spot is not out of reach.

“This weekend proved that anything can happen in Canada West,” said Shafer. “We’ve got to go in there and give it everything we’ve got, really make sure we are mentally ready to go.”

“We have to put the pressure on ourselves to win at least two games in our last tournament,” emphasized Fitzgerald. “Victoria will be a telling weekend.”

Indeed. The Dinos are currently 0-11 with only one goal, so their chance at the final play-off spot could be a numbers game. Time will tell as they play at the University of Victoria Oct. 14-16.

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