PREVIEW FHC – CIS women’s field hockey championship: Top-seeded Vikes looking for third triumph on home turf

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OTTAWA (CIS) – The University of Victoria Vikes hope toput an end to a four-year McCrae Cup drought this week when theyhost the Field Hockey Canada – CIS women’s championship.

Using a four-team format – down from five – for thefirst time since 2005, the national tournament kicks off Thursdayand concludes on Sunday with the gold-medal final scheduled for 3p.m.

Pacific Time. All eight games from the tourney will be webcastlive on CIS-SIC.tv.

Competing for this season’s McCrae Cup will be thetop-seeded Vikes (Canada West champions), No. 2 Guelph Gryphons(OUA champs), No. 3 Waterloo Warriors (OUA finalists), as well asthe fourth-ranked and two-time defending champion UBC Thunderbirds(Canada West runners-up).

Victoria (5-0-3) posted a 2-0 shutout against UBC (4-1-3) in thefinal match of the regular schedule last Saturday to put an end toa 10-year reign by its archrivals in Canada West and capture theconference title for the first time since 2002. There are noplayoffs in the CWUAA and the team with the best record at the endof league play is awarded the banner.

Meanwhile in Ontario, Guelph downed Waterloo 4-1 inSunday’s conference final for its first OUA crown since 2010.The Warriors had booked their ticket for the CIS competition 24hours earlier thanks to a 2-0 upset victory over previouslyundefeated Toronto in the league semis.

All contenders will play each other once in the preliminaryround of the CIS championship, with the top two finishers advancingto the final and the bottom two teams battling for bronze.Thursday’s opening day will see UBC take on Waterloo at 4:30p.m. PT and Guelph facing Victoria at 6:30 p.m. PT.

The Thunderbirds dominated Toronto 3-0 in last year’stitle match to capture their record 14th McCrae Cup since theinaugural national championship in 1975.

Victoria is tied with Toronto for second place all-time with 11CIS banners, its last triumph coming at home in 2008. Guelph andWaterloo are still looking for their first title.

The Vikes hope home field will be an advantage once again thisyear. They reached the podium the last four times the tourney washeld at UVic, including a pair of gold medals (2008, 2000), onesilver (1996) and one bronze (2009).

Victoria comes into this week’s competition with theslightest of edges over UBC, having tied the T-Birds in each oftheir first three head-to-head match-ups this season before takingthe final duel last weekend.

“We are excited to be hosting and we hope we have the samekind of weather we’ve been having to have a lot of supportfor this great game of hockey and our girls,” said LynneBeecroft, in her 30th campaign as Vikes head coach. “We justneed to continue to build on what we have already been doing tofind success. We have six players with two or three goals and thatjust shows we really have been getting it done bycommittee.”

While Victoria came out on top in the season series, the defendingchamps from Vancouver seem to have the advantage when it comes tobig-game experience. Players on UBC’s roster have combinedfor 383 international caps, compared to four for UVic and none forGuelph and Waterloo.

At last year’s CIS championship, the T-Birds dominatedVictoria 4-0 and Guelph 5-0 in pool play.

“UVic has prepared a very good team this year and willprovide stiff competition to all opponents on their hometurf,” said 21-year UBC head coach Hash Kanjee, who hasguided his troops to a remarkable 16 straight CIS tournamentappearances since 1998, amassing 13 podium finishes and nine goldmedals over that period. “That’s good for them and goodfor the sport. We have yet to beat them this year and we’reexcited to see if we can raise our game for our nextclash.”

Of the two contenders from OUA, Guelph seems better suited tocompete with the powerhouses from Canada West, at least judging bytheir season results against Waterloo and Toronto, which hadfinished first in Ontario in league play before being upset in theplayoffs.

The Gryphons are 3-0 this fall against the Warriors, winning 3-1and 3-0 in league action before their convincing 4-1 victory in theconference final. They were also the only team to steal points awayfrom the Varsity Blues during the regular campaign, thanks to ascoreless draw in early October.

Guelph doesn’t have UBC or Victoria’s history ofsuccess at the national level but has now made it to seven straightCIS tournaments, claiming bronze each of the past three years andsilver back in 2007.

“In the OUA final, we were outstanding from the push backand never let up,” said head coach Michelle Turley.“Our goal is to carry this momentum forward into thisweek’s championship. The match-ups will be intense but welook forward to the challenge and are excited to return to thewater-based surface in Victoria.”

Waterloo will compete for the McCrae Cup for the first timesince a fifth-place finish in 2010. The Warriors’ best-everresult at the tourney remains an appearance in the final back in2001.

“As a team we came together at the perfect time and founda way to get to the national championship,” said head coachSteven Rodrigues, whose squad settled for fourth place in the OUAstandings in conference play with a modest 4-6-2 record.“After beating Toronto we’ve all started to believe wecan beat any team in CIS on any given day and we will carry thatattitude with us to Victoria.”

Official championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/fh/index

TEAMPROFILES

No. 1 Victoria Vikes (Canada West champions)

Head Coach: Lynne Beecroft (30th season)
Regular season record: 5-0-3
Regular season standing: Canada West champions
Playoff record: No playoffs in CW
Playoff finish: No playoffs in CW
Record vs. teams at CIS championship: 1-0-3 vs. UBC
Conference award winners: None
Conference all-stars: Kyla Kirby (M), Amanda Kurianowicz (M),Kathleen Leahy (M/D)
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 32
CIS championship best result: 11-time champions (2008, ‘02,‘00, ‘97, ‘95, ‘94, ‘92, ‘91,‘89, ‘87, ‘84)
CIS championship last appearance: 2012 (5th place)
CIS championship sequence: 2nd straight appearance (29th in last 31years)

No. 2 Guelph Gryphons (OUA champions)

Head Coach: Michelle Turley (10th season)
Regular season record: 9-1-2
Regular season standing: 2nd OUA
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: OUA champions
Record vs. teams at CIS championship: 3-0 vs. Waterloo
Conference award winners: None
Conference all-stars: Erin Houle (M), Amy Wise (F)
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 8
CIS championship best result: Finalists (2007)
CIS championship last appearance: 2012 (bronze medal)
CIS championship sequence: 7th straight appearance

No. 3 Waterloo Warriors (OUA finalists)

Head Coach: Steven Rodrigues (4th season)
Regular season record: 4-6-2
Regular season standing: 4th OUA
Playoff record: 2-1
Playoff finish: OUA finalists
Record vs. teams at CIS championship: 0-3 vs. Guelph
Conference award winners: None
Conference all-stars: Stephanie Snyder (M)
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 10
CIS championship best result: Finalists (2001)
CIS championship last appearance: 2010 (5th place)
CIS championship sequence: Return after 2-year absence

No. 4 UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West runners-up)

Head Coach: Hash Kanjee (21st season)
Regular season record: 4-1-3
Regular season standing: Canada West runners-up
Playoff record: No playoffs in CW
Playoff finish: No playoffs in CW
Record vs. teams at CIS championship: 0-1-3 vs. Victoria
Conference award winners: Rachel Donohoe (MVP), Sophie Jones(rookie), Bea Francisco (goalie), Miranda Mann (outstandingcontributor), Hash Kanjee (coach)
Conference all-stars: Rachel Donohoe (D), Caitlin Evans (M), KateGillis (F), Hannah Haughn (F), Shanlee Johnston (D), Sara McManus(D), Natalie Sourisseau (M)
CIS championship appearances (including 2013): 34
CIS championship best result: 14-time champions (2012, ‘11,‘09, ‘06, ‘04, ‘03, ‘01, ‘99,‘98, ‘90, ‘83, ‘82, ‘80,‘78)
CIS championship last appearance: 2012 (champions)
CIS championship sequence: 16th straight appearance (26th in last27 years)

McCRAE CUPCHAMPIONS

2012 UBC
2011 UBC
2010 Toronto
2009 UBC
2008 Victoria
2007 Toronto
2006 UBC
2005 Alberta
2004 UBC
2003 UBC
2002 Victoria
2001 UBC
2000 Victoria
1999 UBC
1998 UBC
1997 Victoria
1996 Toronto
1995 Victoria
1994 Victoria
1993 Toronto
1992 Victoria
1991 Victoria
1990 UBC
1989 Victoria
1988 Toronto
1987 Victoria
1986 Toronto
1985 Toronto
1984 Victoria
1983 UBC
1982 UBC
1981 Toronto
1980 UBC
1979 Toronto
1978 UBC
1977 Toronto
1976 Dalhousie
1975 Toronto

CHAMPIONSHIPSEEDING & SCHEDULE (all times PACIFIC TIME)

Seeding:

1. Victoria Vikes (Canada West champions: 5-0-3 regular season /no playoffs in CW)
2. Guelph Gryphons (OUA champions: 9-1-2 regular season / 2-0playoffs)
3. Waterloo Warriors (OUA finalists: 4-6-2 regular season / 2-1playoffs)
4. UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West runners-up: 4-1-3 regular season /no playoffs in CW)

Wednesday, Oct. 30
18:30 All-Canadian Awards Banquet (Harbour Towers Hotel &Suites)

Thursday, Oct. 31
16:30 Game 1: Waterloo vs. UBC (CIS-SIC.tv)
18:30 Game 2: Victoria vs. Guelph (CIS-SIC.tv)

Friday, Nov. 1
16:30 Game 3: Guelph vs. UBC (CIS-SIC.tv)
18:30 Game 4: Victoria vs. Waterloo (CIS-SIC.tv)

Saturday, Nov. 2
13:00 Game 5: Guelph vs. Waterloo (CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Game 6: Victoria vs. UBC (CIS-SIC.tv)

Sunday, Nov. 3
13:00 Bronze medal (CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Championship final (CIS-SIC.tv)

Note: All games will be played at UVIC Field 1.

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport

Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body ofuniversity sport in Canada. Every year, 11,000 student-athletes and700 coaches from 54 universities and four regional associations viefor 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS alsoprovides high performance international opportunities for Canadianstudent-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well asnumerous world university championships. For further information,visit www.cis-sic.ca or followus on:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CIS_SIC
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cissports
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/universitysport

-CIS-

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