Field hockey-ers face defeat in season opener weekend

By Robyn Luff

The Dinos field hockey team played their season opening series this weekend against reigning CIS champions the University of Victoria Vikes. The young Dinos team lost a disappointing 5-0 on Saturday, and improved by only one goal Sunday for a 4-0 loss. Though the score was lopsided, there were still some highlights for Calgary.

The Dinos came out strong, keeping heavy pressure on the experienced UVic players, forcing multiple turnovers. The girlsaurs had some early offensive pressure too, including a short corner opportunity that resulted in a shot that ran just wide of the goal.

The Vikes rallied to pick up steam midway through the first half with a flurry of pressure in the Dinos end, finally resulting in their first goal by Courtney Low, who drove on the right and snuck in a wide shot. The first half ended on a short corner goal by UVic, a skirmish in front of the goal that was converted by Amanda Collison.

The Dinos started the second half determined to hold off Victoria’s offence. Tanis Bartolome provided strong stick handling and passing abilities in the midfield, leading to more goal-scoring chances for the Dinos, including another short corner.

Calgary prevented the Vikes from scoring again until late in the second half. Rookie Lizzie Hutchins led a gritty defensive effort with hustle, holding off the UVic forwards. Goaltender Breanna Strong looked nearly unbeatable throughout the game, stopping hard strikes and diving all over to trip up breakaway Vikes. She had an incredible diving stick save to stop a penalty shot in the second half. The game came to a close with two quick Victoria goals–a wide shot converted by Natalie Wise and a high flick off a short corner by UVic star Ali Lee.

The Dinos are starting relatively fresh this year with new coach Jenn Swaggar and 11 rookies, many of whom were selected by Swaggar for their offensive abilities.

“I wanted to start this year with a fresh slate,” says Swaggar. “The players have strong skills, they just have to learn to believe in their abilities.”