Had the girls of the Dinos Field Hockey team spent Friday and Saturday night getting drunk at the Den as I did, their regular season record would not be any different. Their first Canada West tournament was played Sept. 24-26 in Vancouver, BC. Albeit no wins were to be had, the ladies did learn some lessons.
But we'll have plenty of time to get to those after we review the tragic losses.
Friday's game against the University of Victoria Vikes set the tone. Our ladies were played like the percussion section on a five city orchestra tour. The score rested at 4-0 after the final note.
The team felt they should have beaten the Vikes and went out for the kill on Saturday. Unfortunately, they took on Canada's top team, the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
"We worked 'em," rookie Lauren McDougall exclaimed enthusiastically.
"They had to change their whole system," Kelly Baudru agreed in a more explanatory way.
Despite this strong start against the T-Birds, the so-called system change definitely worked. Our ladies ended up short of a win again.
At least there was still an easy win against the University of Alberta Pandas right? Wrong!
In what was probably the most devastating loss of the tournament, the Dinos let the Pandas narrowly escape their jaws and flee into a lovely bamboo forest bringing a 3-2 win along with them. Head Coach Anne Kromm mustered one good reason for the loss to this historically inferior team.
"Against U of A, they mentally fell apart," she admitted of her team.
The Dinos had a head start on their opposition for the tournament this year. In late August they played 12 games in the United States. Why didn't this help you ask?
"Sometimes not knowing your opponent is better than knowing your opponent," answers Kromm.
Words of wisdom from a wise coach can take a team so far, but the team needs to learn from their losses. Being the first regular season tournament, this was an important one. Luckily, our Dinos know what has to change for their next matches.
"Communication was our biggest downfall," Baudru conceded.
But after a team meeting things are looking up.
"We're agreeing on a lot of things," McDougall told the press. "We all have an understanding."
The next field hockey games will be played at home on the new pitch that was constructed near the rest of the fields here at the University of Calgary. We host a three day tournament Oct. 8-10. For things to run smoothly--almost unheard of here at the U of C--the girls on the team agree we will need a leaf blower! The beautiful fall colours have splattered themselves all over their pitch like bug guts on a windshield while driving through the prairies.
For the past few years the Dinos have been shunned from a playoff spot by UVic and UBC, but this year Kromm hopes things will be different.
"Skillwise we are definitely competitive," she explained, "but we need to work on mental toughness."
But as a famous dude once said, "only time will tell."