Canada West insiders eliminated the Dinos from the playoffs before the season began, and with good reason. The Dinos boasted a lone fifth-year player. Their only fourth-year player was a college transfer. Beyond that, they had a couple on injury-prone third-year players and a bunch of rookies and sophomores.
While the Dinos may not have looked deep, they had heart. It's a huge cliche, I know, but it's true. An inexperienced team like this can't finish over .500 if they don't have desire. Not only did they dominate their division, the Dinos beat a superior team from UBC to make the conference championship tournament, then lost out on a trip to Nationals when they lost by one point to the Victoria Vikes--the eventual national champions.
The Dinos have had some stellar players since Head Coach Shawnee Harle took the helm, but this was the best team she has led. With apologies to Anna Bekkering, this team did not have a superstar--they came together as a unit, with seven or eight players sharing the bulk of the responsibilities.
On an indivdual level, Jessica Foltinek and Tanya Hautala demonstrated why they'll be big names in the conference over the next few years. Shari Jonker stepped comfortably into a starting role after tranferring from Lethbridge Community College, and Cory Bekkering battled injuries and proved herself invaluable. Rookie Lindsay Maundrell's aggressive style served the Dinos well, while posts Jade Jensen and Angie Robson grew into their roles over the course of the season.
The best thing about this team is that most of it will be back next season. Anna Bekkering was huge this year, and probably should have been an All-Canadian, but the Dinos are deep enough that they'll be able to fill that hole next year.