It's been a developmental, but important, season for the Dinos women's rugby team. This year marks the debut of the squad in Canadian Interuniversity Sport competition after almost a decade as a club team.
The players and coaches knew that there would be no red carpet rolled out for them this season, as Canada West is considered the toughest conference in the CIS and includes the two-time reigning national champions, the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.
"Many of the teams we play can be comparable to representative provincial rugby teams," says Dinos head coach Jenny Vincent. Three of the five teams in the West are ranked in the top 10 in Canada.
Since playing their first regular season game in Lethbridge, the Dinos have recognized the level of play in this division and know they can compete.
"The team has had an extremely positive attitude all year," says Vincent. "The team is very energetic, enthusiastic and full of a devoted bunch of athletes."
The Dinos are looking to draw athletes to play rugby at the CIS level through recruitment and open try-outs. Many players are multi-sport athletes involved in wrestling, field hockey and numerous varsity sports.
So far, the Dinos are three games into the season without a win or a single point, but they are improving step-by-step every game. The Dinos in no way have dwelled upon their losses. Through reflection and devotion the team has been improving their level of play all year and the players are enthusiastic about their upcoming home game against the University of Alberta Pandas.
The Dinos are coming into this game with a chip on their shoulder. The team suffered a heartbreaking loss in British Columbia's capital two weeks ago, where the University of Victoria Vikes prevailed in a 5-0 win.
Vincent is viewing this weekend's game as an opportunity for her team to shine in the home debut. The Dinos know it will be tough to pull a win against the powerhouse Pandas, but like Calgary's weather patterns, anything can happen.