Dinos to face UBC in McCrae Cup final

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Michel Belanger

CALGARY (CIS) – Kaitlyn Longworth scored a pair of goals to lift her University of Calgary Dinos to their first-ever CIS women’s field hockey championship final following a 3-0 win over the Alberta Pandas Saturday morning at Hawkings Field.

Already assured of the best result in program history after a pair of fourth-place finishes in 1982 and 1987, the No. 3 seed Dinos (3-1) will face the second-seeded UBC Thunderbirds Sunday at 1 p.m. MT for the McCrae Cup at the FHC-CIS tournament.

Alberta drops to 0-3 at the tournament and will need to beat top-seeded Toronto (1-2) in the final game of the round robin later on Saturday to qualify for the bronze medal game.

After the Pandas came out and held the territorial advantage for the first five minutes of the game, Longworth’s first on the seventh minute fired up the partisan crowd and the Dinos began to establish their game plan from there.

“We’re happy, we’re enjoying the noise and enjoying the moment,” said Calgary head coach Jenn Swagar. “The players love it – my only problem is that I can’t talk to them during the game because it’s so loud!

“That first game against Guelph was huge for us and proves that every game counts at this tournament,” said Swagar, referring to the Dinos’ late comeback in their tournament opener Thursday. “It got rid of some of the nerves for us, and we’ve built from there every game.”

On the 30th minute, Carolina Romeo scored a beautiful goal to give the Dinos a 2-0 lead. With Calgary holding possession deep in Alberta territory, Claire Beaton rifled a centering pass through to Romeo who one-timed it into a yawning cage with Pandas goalie Tory Spencer hugging the right post.

Ten minutes into the second half, Longworth scored again off a penalty corner opportunity, notching her fifth goal of the tournament – tying her for the lead with Guelph’s Brittany Seidler.

Steph Petrowitsch had a relatively quiet outing in recording her second consecutive shutout after Calgary’s win by the same 3-0 score over defending champion Toronto Friday night. The Pandas were unable to generate many offensive opportunities, and those chances they did have either missed the net or were handled easily by the Dinos’ ‘keeper.

The result sets up a national championship game between two familiar opponents, who will be facing off for the sixth time in 16 games this season.

“We know them pretty well, but they have some girls back from the Pan Am Games that change their personnel and increase their skill level,” said Swagar. “We’re going to watch some game film and this next game where they play Guelph, and from there we’ll come up with a game plan.”

UBC wraps up the round robin portion of the tournament by facing Guelph, while Alberta takes on Toronto in the nightcap Saturday.

NOTES: Sunday’s championship final will mark the first time a University of Calgary team will play for a CIS title at home since men’s volleyball in 1989… The Dinos and Thunderbirds have met five previous times in the season, with UBC holding a 4-0-1 record in those games … UBC defeated Calgary 4-2 in the round robin on Friday morning…

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