2011 OUA Women's Field Hockey Championship preview
Photo credit Guelph Athletics
HAMILTON, Ont. – Six schools are ready to begin the battle for the 2011 OUA Field Hockey Championship sponsored by Harrow Sports. This year's event is set to take place October 28-30 in Guelph as the Gryphons take aim at defending their title on home turf. The Gryphons have emerged as a serious contender as they have won three of the past four OUA titles which accounts for their only championships in school history.
This year the Gryphons enter the championship tournament as the second seed. Despite finishing tied for a league best 11-1 record, the Gryphons lost out in the tiebreaking scenario to wind up with second spot. This year's Gryphons will be gunning for their third consecutive title and have OUA Player of the Year Brittany Seidler (Oliver, B.C.) to lead the way. Seidler scored 26 goals in the 12 game regular season which was nearly double the next highest output. With Seidler's leadership up front, the Gryphons led the league with 53 total goals. Guelph also boasts the only goalkeeper to be named to the all-star team as Kaye McLagan (Mitchell, Ont.) was recognized for her outstanding play. With the league's best offence and one of the league's best goalkeepers, the Gryphons have the total package and will be difficult to defeat.
The Toronto Varsity Blues are historically a strong program and this year is no different. The defending CIS national champions, Toronto enters this year's OUA championship as the top seed. Their defence has been near perfect this year, allowing a league- and CIS-best three goals against. The Blues have four all-stars on this year's squad including OUA Rookie of the Year Amanda Woodcroft (Waterloo, Ont.), sophomore Ally Evanyshyn (Burlington, Ont.) who led the Blues with 14 goals, and seniors Hannah Tighe (Pentiction, B.C.) and Kaelan Watson (Richmond, B.C.). Toronto looks for their first league title since 2008 and should be a top challenger.
As the top two seeds, Toronto and Guelph have earned a bye straight into the semifinal so their first action will come on Saturday afternoon.
The third seed Waterloo Warriors return to the OUA championship tournament after a bronze medal finish a year ago. The Warriors finished the season 6-6 but hope their experience can propel them to a better finish this year. Waterloo gained CIS experience a year ago as they participated in the national championship. Leading the way for the Warriors this year are all-stars Courtney Bisch (Wellesley, Ont.) and Winnie Huynh (Mississauga, Ont.) Bisch provides a spark for the offense and she finished with six goals, putting her in a tie for fifth in the league. Huynh was Waterloo's go to on defence and is a leader both on and off the field. With the third seed, Waterloo will face off against the AUS representative in St. Mary's University.
St. Mary's comes into the OUA championship as winners of the Maritime Field Hockey title and are playing for a berth in the CIS tournament. St. Mary's has had a strong season and dominated the league's all-star list with four winners. Players to watch for the Huskies include Rookie of the Year Brittany Avery (Hammonds Plains, N.S.), fifth year Leigh Giffin (Halifax, N.S.), second year Paige Johnson (Burlington, Ont.), and senior Mandy Avery (Halifax, N.S.).
The McGill Martlets finished the regular season with a 5-6-1 record which was enough to shore up the number four seed. The Martlets are led by all-star Camille St-Cyr (Richmond, B.C.) who scored three goals from the midfield position and has been an OUA all-star for four consecutive seasons. McGill's first game will kickoff championship play on October 28 as they play fifth seed Western.
The Mustangs come into this year's championship with a 3-5-4 record. Western is led by all-star Lauren Mackenzie (Burlington, Ont.), a second year midfielder. Though their offence struggled with only 13 goals in the regular season, the Mustangs have only given up 21 goals which is fourth best in the league and will rely on their defence to keep them within striking distance.
Winners of the semifinals not only secure themselves a place in the OUA championship game, but also a berth in the CIS national tournament set to take place November 3-6 at the University of Calgary. Semifinal games are scheduled for Saturday afternoon with the championship game set for Sunday, October 30 at 12:00 pm in Guelph.
October 28, 2011
12:00 pm – Game 1: McGill @ Western
2:00 pm – Game 2: Waterloo @ St. Mary's
October 29, 2011
10:00 am – Game 3: Loser Game 1 @ Loser Game 2
12:00 pm – Game 4: Toronto @ Winner Game 1
2:00 pm – Game 5: Guelph @ Winner Game 2
October 30, 2011
10:00 am – Game 6: Loser Game 4 @ Loser Game 5 (Bronze)
12:00 pm – Game 7: Winner Game 4 @ Winner Game 5 (Championship)