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It's a stretch! The Dinos will look to end the season on a high note with four games remaining.
the Gauntlet

Dinos pressure not enough to thwart strong T-Birds

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Just like the ancient 300 Spartans versus Persia in the Battle of Thermopylae, the University of Calgary Dinos field hockey team constantly forced the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds into defensive mode and made its offence fight for each inch of the field.

It ended in a close defeat, however, as the Thunderbirds held off to win 3-2 Sunday after winning 3-0 Saturday.

Coach Jenn Swagar still held her head up with a smile, noting the Thunderbirds had to fight hard for their victory.

"We like to push the pace and use pressure to force errors," said Swagar. "They're a strong team that really works on offensive postures. Other teams respect that, but the Thunderbirds usually do not have pressure against them."

The Dinos made their return to Hawkings Field after a series of away games to face the Thunderbirds, who were hoping to continue their field hockey dominance.

With the help of their triple threat, forwards Chelsea and Kathryn MacPherson and Victoria Pearson, the Thunderbirds were able to sweep the scoreboard.

Swagar admitted the Dinos made some critical errors that cost them the game.

"We gave the ball away in our circle and it went to the back of our net," said Swagar. "And the other goal was when the UBC players snuck behind my defence and goalie and touched the ball into the net."

On Sunday, the Thunderbirds were seeking their second win in a row and hoping to improve to seven wins on the season, good enough for first place in the Canada West division.

Among the crumbled brown and yellow leaves and wind, the Thunderbirds offence put constant pressure on the Dinos defence in the first quarter.

The first hole in the Dinos' wall came when Thunderbird forward Elise Milosevich flew through the defence and scored in the 11th minute.

After Milosevich scored again in the 28th minute, the T-Birds led 3-0.

In the second period, the Dinos marched back onto the field with their heads held high.

Their determination paid off with two quick goals scored in the 44th and 49th minute.

Serena Lockhart scored the first goal, while Kaelyn Barrie scored the second in an offensive flurry.

However, their efforts proved ineffective as the Thunderbirds held off the Dinos until the end.

Swagar is pleased with the improving offence and defence of the team, especially with Barrie, who scored her first goal as a Dino.

She pointed out the team needs to work on their mental facilities and emotions, since it is still a young team that gets stressed out easily.

"We need to be more confident," said Swagar. "They are really emotional and have to believe in themselves and their basics. They get really deflated when they make mistakes or do not execute."

The two victories gave the Thunderbirds a commanding lead in Canada West field hockey, with 21 points. The Dinos now have a 1-7 record.

The Dinos will host their rival University of Alberta Pandas when they pay a visit to the Hawkings Field this weekend.

Swagar has a simple but efficient plan for the four remaining games versus the Pandas and University of Victoria Vikes: win.

"We have to try and clean up the basics and put the pressure on them with our speed."

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