Vikes set to keep McCrae Cup in Victoria at 41st CIS Championship

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cis field hky

CIS Communications

 

 

OTTAWA (CIS) – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s field hockey team are poised to hoist what would be their 12th McCrae Cup at this week’s Victoria-hosted CIS-FHC field hockey championship. The UBC Thunderbirds have won 16 McCrae Cup titles over the years including the last four in a row, both all-time records, but they are in tough to extend their remarkable streak at this week’s CIS – Field Hockey Canada women’s championship following a challenging Canada West season.

The four-team tournament, hosted by the University of Victoria for the second time in three years and for the seventh time overall, kicks off on Thursday and concludes Sunday with the gold-medal final at 3 p.m. Pacific Time All eight games from the tourney will be webcast live on CIS-SIC.tv.

Competing for the 2015 McCrae Cup will be the same four programs as a year ago, including the top-seeded and host Victoria Vikes (Canada West champions), No. 2 Toronto Varsity Blues (OUA champs), No. 3 UBC (Canada West runners-up) and No. 4 Guelph Gryphons (OUA silver medallists).

The Varsity Blues and Vikes rounded out the 2014 podium, with the Gryphons taking fourth place.

All contenders will play each other once in the preliminary round this week, 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 Guelph at 4 p.m. and Victoria face Toronto at 6:30 p.m.

Victoria and Toronto boasts 11 national titles apiece, while Guelph’s best finish at the CIS tournament is a silver medal in 2007.

The Vikes, who last hoisted the coveted trophy in 2008 when the competition was also held in Victoria, enter the 2015 tournament on home turf beaming with confidence thanks to a 3-0-1 record against archrival UBC this season, including 3-0 and 2-0 victories in September, followed by a 1-0 win and a 1-1 draw in early October.

Victoria is led by conference all-stars Annie Walters-Shumka (defence), Lizzie Yates (defence),Kathleen Leahy (defence/midfield) and Amanda Kurianowicz (forward). Leahy and defender Rosie Beale are both members of the Canadian national development team.

“We are excited to be hosting the championship,” said Canada West coach of the year Lynne Beecroft, in her 32nd season at the helm. “With the top four teams in the country participating in this prestigious tournament, we know it will be a challenging four days of competition. With a mix of veterans and rookies, the Vikes are ready to work hard to match the heroics of the 2008 team that captured our 11th CIS/FHC championship.”

Reigning four-time champion UBC, which has won the last two CIS tournaments held at UVic in 2013 and 2009, counters with three Canada West all-stars of its own in league MVP Hannah Haughn(midfield/forward), Gabby Jayme (midfield/forward) and Rowan Harris (goalkeeper). Haughn, the MVP of the 2012 CIS-FHC championship, is the only member of the senior national squad at this week’s tourney, having accumulated no less than 98 caps with the Canadian team over her career.

“We enter the CIS championship with a very young and relatively inexperienced team and we look forward to an exciting and challenging competition,” said head coach Robin D’Abreo, who helped extend the T-Birds record streak a year ago in his first season in charge. “We know we will face an exceptionally talented and hungry UVic team, who will be very tough if not impossible to beat, and some powerhouses from the East. We approach this opportunity with humility, as we always do, and have no expectations at this tournament other than to prepare diligently and focus on our game plan and process.” 

Meanwhile in Ontario, Toronto and Guelph battled through a trio of high-scoring affairs this fall, with the Varsity Blues winning 5-2 in September and 4-3 in the OUA final, while the Gryphons prevailed 9-5 in an early October duel. In Saturday’s conference championship match, the Blues erased a 3-0 deficit after 15 minutes of action to stun their archrivals.  

Both teams placed three players among OUA all-stars, including Alison Lee (defence), Amanda Woodcroft (midfield) and league MVP Tegan Stairs (forward) for Toronto and Erin Houle (midfield),Moon Weijens (midfield) and Ally Chute (forward) for Guelph. Lee, Stairs and Woodcroft, the MVP of last year’s CIS tourney, are all members of the Canadian senior development squad.

“Our team has been playing at a very good level and I think we’ll have an edge coming off that crazy OUA gold-medal win,” said 10-year U of T bench boss John DeSouza. “We are looking forward to playing the best hockey we can and challenging to bring that red banner back to Toronto.” 

“With just one player gone from last season’s squad, we feel like our team this year is a very tight-knit group,” said OUA coach of the year Michelle Turley, in her 12th campaign at the helm. “We have worked hard to build upon some of the success we had last year. We’re thrilled to be back at the CIS championship and the players are determined to seek some redemption after a disappointing showing at last year’s nationals.”

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

TEAM PROFILES

NO. 1 VICTORIA VIKES (Canada West champions)
Head Coach: Lynne Beecroft (32nd season)
Regular season record: 7-0-1
Regular season standing: Canada West champions
Playoff record: No playoffs in CW
Playoff finish: No playoffs in CW
Overall record vs. teams at CIS championship: 3-0-1 vs. UBC
Conference award winners: Lynne Beecroft (coach), Kathleen Leahy (outstanding contributor)
Conference all-stars: Annie Walters-Shumka (D), Lizzie Yates (D), Kathleen Leahy (D/M), Amanda Kurianowicz (F)
CIS championship appearances (including 2015): 34th
CIS championship best result: 11-time champions (2008, ’02, ’00, ’97, ’95, ’94, ’92, ’91, ’89, ’87, ’84)
CIS championship last appearance: 2014 (bronze medal)
CIS championship sequence: 4th straight appearance (31st in 33 years)
 
NO. 2 TORONTO VARSITY BLUES (OUA champions)
Head Coach: John DeSouza (10th season)
Regular season record: 11-1
Regular season standing: 2nd OUA
Playoff record: 2-0
Playoff finish: OUA champions
Overall record vs. teams at CIS championship: 2-1 vs. Guelph
Conference award winners: Tegan Stairs (MVP), Hilary Ziraldo (rookie)
Conference all-stars: Alison Lee (D), Amanda Woodcroft (M), Tegan Stairs (F)
CIS championship appearances (including 2015): 38th
CIS championship best result: 11-time champions (2010, ’07, ’96, ’93, ’88, ’86, ’85, ’81, ’79, ’77, ’75)
CIS championship last appearance: 2014 (silver medal)
CIS championship sequence: 2nd straight appearance (11th in 12 years)
 
NO. 3 UBC THUNDERBIRDS (Canada West runners-up)
Head Coach: Robin D’Abreo (2nd season)
Regular season record: 4-3-1
Regular season standing: Canada West runners-up
Playoff record: No playoffs in CW
Playoff finish: No playoffs in CW
Overall record vs. teams at CIS championship: 0-3-1 vs. Victoria
Conference award winners: Hannah Haughn (MVP)
Conference all-stars: Rowan Harris (G), Hannah Haughn (M/F), Gabby Jayme (M/F)
CIS championship appearances (including 2015): 36th  
CIS championship best result: 16-time champions (2014, ’13, ’12, ’11, ’09, ’06, ’04, ’03, ’01, ’99, ’98, ’90, ’83, ’82, ’80, ’78)
CIS championship last appearance: 2014 (champions)
CIS championship sequence: 18th straight appearance (28th in 29 years)
 
NO. 4 GUELPH GRYPHONS (OUA silver medallists)
Head Coach: Michelle Turley (12th season)
Regular season record: 11-1
Regular season standing: 1st OUA
Playoff record: 1-1
Playoff finish: OUA silver medallists
Overall record vs. teams at CIS championship: 1-2 vs. Toronto
Conference award winners: Michelle Turley (coach)
Conference all-stars: Erin Houle (M), Moon Weijens (M), Ally Chute (F)
CIS championship appearances (including 2015): 10th
CIS championship best result: Finalists (2007)
CIS championship last appearance: 2014 (fourth)
CIS championship sequence: 9th straight appearance 

McCRAE CUP CHAMPIONS

2014 UBC
2013 UBC
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   
 
SEEDING

1. Victoria Vikes (Canada West champions: 7-0-1 regular season / no playoffs in CW)
2. Toronto Varsity Blues (OUA champions: 11-1-0 regular season / 2-0 playoffs)
3. UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West runners-up: 4-3-1 regular season / no playoffs in CW)
4. Guelph Gryphons (OUA silver medallists: 11-1-0 regular season / 1-1 playoffs) 

CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (all times Pacific Time)

 Wednesday, Nov. 4
18:30 All-Canadian Awards Banquet (Harbour Towers Hotel)

 Thursday, Nov. 5
16:00 Game 1: Guelph vs. UBC (CIS-SIC.tv)
18:30 Game 2: Toronto vs. Victoria (CIS-SIC.tv)

 Friday, Nov. 6
16:00 Game 3: UBC vs. Victoria (CIS-SIC.tv)
18:30 Game 4: Guelph vs. Toronto (CIS-SIC.tv)

 Saturday, Nov. 7
12:30 Game 5: Guelph vs. Victoria (CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Game 6: UBC vs. Toronto (CIS-SIC.tv)

 Sunday, Nov. 8
12:30 Bronze medal (CIS-SIC.tv)
15:00 Championship final (CIS-SIC.tv)

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