Top-seeded Vikes looking for third triumph on home turf

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By CIS, Canadian Interuniversity Sport

October 29, 2013, OTTAWA (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes hope to put an end to a four-year McCrae Cup drought this week when they host the Field Hockey Canada – CIS women’s championship.

Using a four-team format – down from five – for the first time since 2005, the national tournament kicks off Thursday and concludes on Sunday with the gold-medal final scheduled for 3 p.m. Pacific Time. All eight games from the tourney will be webcast live on http://www.cis-sic.tv/

Competing for this season’s McCrae Cup will be the top-seeded Vikes (Canada West champions), No. 2 Guelph Gryphons (OUA champs), No. 3 Waterloo Warriors (OUA finalists), as well as the 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 the final match of the regular schedule last Saturday to put an end to a 10-year reign by its archrivals in Canada West and capture the conference title for the first time since 2002. There are no playoffs in the CWUAA and the team with the best record at the end of league play is awarded the banner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We are excited to be hosting and we hope we have the same kind of weather we’ve been having to have a lot of support for this great game of hockey and our girls,” saidLynne Beecroft, in her 30th campaign as head coach of the Vikes. “We just need to continue to build on what we have already been doing to find success. We have six players with two or three goals and that just shows we really have been getting it done by committee.”

While Victoria came out on top in the season series, the defending champs seem to have the advantage when it comes to big-game experience. Players on UBC’s rosters have combined for 383 international caps, compared to four for UVic and none for Guelph and Waterloo.

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

“UVic has prepared a very good team this year and will provide stiff competition to all opponents on their home turf,” said 21-year UBC head coach Hash Kanjee, who has guided his troops to a remarkable 16 straight CIS tournament appearances since 1998, amassing 13 podium finishes and nine gold medals over that period. “That’s good for them and good for the sport. We have yet to beat them this year and we’re excited to see if we can raise our game for our next clash.”

Of the two contenders from OUA, Guelph seems better suited to compete with the powerhouses from Canada West, at least judging by their season results against Waterloo and Toronto.

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

Guelph doesn’t have UBC or Victoria’s history of success at the national level but has now made it to eight straight CIS tournaments, claiming bronze each of the past three years and silver back in 2007.

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

Waterloo will compete for the McCrae Cup for the first time since a fifth-place finish in 2010. The Warriors’ best-ever result at the tourney remains an appearance in the final back in 2001.

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

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

TEAM PROFILES

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 31 years)

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 (outstanding contributor), Hash Kanjee (coach)
  • Conference all-stars: Rachel Donohoe (D), Caitlin Evans (M), Kate Gillis (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 last 27 years)

McCRAE CUP CHAMPIONS:

  • 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

CHAMPIONSHIP SEEDING & 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 / 2-0 playoffs)
  • 3. Waterloo Warriors (OUA finalists: 4-6-2 regular season / 2-1 playoffs)
  • 4. UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West second place: 4-1-3 regular season / no playoffs in CW)

CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times PACIFIC TIME)

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

Thursday, Oct. 31

  • 16:30 Game 1: Waterloo vs. UBC
  • 18:30 Game 2: Victoria vs. Guelph

Friday, Nov. 1

  • 16:30 Game 3: Guelph vs. UBC
  • 18:30 Game 4: Victoria vs. Waterloo

Saturday, Nov. 2

  • 13:00 Game 5: Guelph vs. Waterloo
  • 15:00 Game 6: Victoria vs. UBC

Sunday, Nov. 3

  • 13:00 Bronze medal
  • 15:00 Championship final

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

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport

Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Every year, 11,000 student-athletes and 700 coaches from 54 universities and four regional associations vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit www.cis-sic.ca or follow us on:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CIS_SIC 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cissports 

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/universitysport 

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