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(ISN) – TORONTO (CIS) – The University of Toronto Varsity Blues opened their CIS-title run with a convincing 3-0 victory over the three-time defending champion UBC Thunderbirds on Day 1 of the CIS-FHC field hockey championship at Back Campus Fields.

It marked Toronto’s ninth win over the powerhouse Thunderbirds in 37 meetings at the national tournament. U of T’s last win over UBC at the CIS championship was a 2-1 victory in the 2010 gold-medal game.

“We believe that defence wins championships,” said Varsity Blues bench boss John DeSouza, who earned his second career CIS coach of the year honour this season. “I thought our defence was outstanding today. I think the chances were even. We capitalized on ours but a lot of the game was played between the 25’s.”

Coming into the match with a perfect 14-0-0 record this season, the Blues were ready to go from the opening whistle as 2014 CIS player of the year Amanada Woodcroft of Waterloo, Ont., rang a shot off the UBC post in the first 30 seconds of the match.

Second-year U of T forward Lauren Sudac kept the momentum going as she opened the scoring in the 2nd minute. The Burlington, Ont., native deked around CIS rookie of the year and UBC goalkeeper Lauren Logush (Richmond Hill, Ont.) for a clear shot on net.

Woodcroft added to Toronto’s lead in the 25th minute off a penalty corner. The four-time CIS all-Canadian pulled a nifty move around a UBC player off a penalty corner set play and sent the ball into the bottom right corner.

The Blues were up 2-0 at the half.

Toronto co-captain Alex Thicke of North Vancouver added an insurance marker in the 56th minute to round out the scoring.

UBC pressured late and had a few penalty corners to score, but were unable to beat Blues netminder Madeleine Cho (Vancouver).

“I think we have a lot to learn from a game like that,” said first-year UBC head coach Robin D’Abreo. “I think we are getting used to the new environment and our team is a young and relatively inexperienced. I think it was a bit of a learning experience for them in terms of performing at this level and under pressure. We’ll look to learn from it and regroup for tomorrow.”

Toronto (1-0) will turn around to face the fourth-seeded Guelph Gryphons (0-1) in a rematch of the OUA final tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. UBC (0-1) will then battle the Victoria Vikes (1-0) in an all-Canada West clash at 6:30 p.m. Both games will be streamed live on CIS-SIC.tv.

TOR: 2-1: 3
UBC: 0-0: 0

First half
TOR Lauren Sudac (1), 2nd minute
TOR Amanda Woodcroft (1), 25th minute

Second half
TOR Alex Thicke (1), 56th minute

TOR: Madeleine Cho (W, 70:00, 0 GA, 1-0)
UBC: Lauren Logush (L, 70:00, 3 GA, 0-1)

Players of the game
TOR: Lauren Sudac (Burlington, Ont.)
UBC: Poonam Sandhu (Vancouver, B.C.)


Round-robin standings

1. Toronto 1 1 0 0 3 0 3
2. Victoria 1 1 0 0 3 2 3
3. Guelph 1 0 1 0 2 3 0
4. UBC 1 0 1 0 0 3 0

NOTE: 3 points for a win and 1 point for a tie.

Thursday, Oct. 30

16:30 Game 1: Victoria 3, Guelph 2
18:30 Game 2: Toronto 3, UBC 0

Friday, Oct. 31

16:30 Game 3: Toronto vs. Guelph (CIS-SIC.tv)
18:30 Game 4: UBC vs. Victoria (CIS-SIC.tv)

Saturday, Nov. 1

13:00 Game 5: Toronto vs Victoria (CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Game 6: UBC vs. Guelph (CIS-SIC.tv)

Sunday, Nov. 2

13:00 Bronze medal (CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Championship final (CIS-SIC.tv)