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Dinos field hockey looking for redemption

By Emilie Medland-Marchen, August 6, 2015 —

The Dinos women’s field hockey team headed to the fields behind the Olympic Oval on a rainy day earlier this week to start training for the upcoming season. The team began their session with an aerobic workout before moving to the soggy artificial turf for hockey training. Even in the rain, the team’s spirit shone through.

After a disappointing 2014 season that resulted in an 0–8 overall record, the team hopes to put the Dinos program back on the map.

Returning to the team is veteran goalkeeper Beckett Frisch, who also suits up for the Canadian national team. Frisch, who was last year’s Canada West MVP, spoke about the challenge of balancing different roles with the two teams.

“I want to contribute to the team in any way I can,” Frisch said. “I play a very different role on the Dinos than I do on the national team. I was starting last year for the Dinos and had a really good year, and I went to the national team and ended up being second keeper.”

Even so, it’s clear Frisch is prepared to bring her best, regardless of the role she’s given.

“Wherever I go, wherever I play, I just want to contribute in any way I can,” Frisch said. “That’s always my focus — to get better myself, to help my teammates get better and contribute.”

Bringing her experience from both the CIS and the NCAA — where she played for the University of Maine — Frisch’s approach to training is impressive, and it’s been an excellent asset for the rest of the women’s team.

Head coach Henré Meyer has adjusted his club’s training regimen this season, hoping an increase in cardiovascular and functional fitness training will result in a stronger team. He is excited at the prospect of some of their potential additions this season.

“We have trials — there will be about 30 or 40 girls attending — which is great. In past years we’ve been close to about 20,” Meyer said. “So this is a big step for new recruits. We’ve got a couple coming in from British Columbia, we have an exchange student coming up from Holland, as the Netherlands are number one in field hockey in the world. So it will be a really exciting year for us from that point of view.”

The camaraderie shared between the group is immediately clear to anyone watching them train together. Returning defender Jessica Britton discussed the importance of this familiarity.

“The minute you walk in to university here, you walk in to a family,” Britton said. “I think the biggest part about coming in to a varsity sport is that you come in to a full team. We train together, we play together, we have time outside of the team together.”

Britton isn’t the only one who remains positive despite the team’s recent lack of success. Forward Roxanna Krankowski, a rookie during last year’s winless season, described the positives of making the jump to playing at the university level.

“It’s a lot more intense playing varsity than high school field hockey,” Krankowski said. “The energy’s really great though. It’s just more constant, working on your skills. I had a really good transition. It’s a lot to take in, but it was worth it.”

Though the Dinos field hockey team has been through a rough patch over the past few seasons, coach Meyer remains optimistic about the progress they have made during that span. Improving support and enthusiasm from fellow Dinos and University of Calgary students certainly plays a part in pushing the team forward as well.

“This past year we did see an increase in attendance, and it was really fun to have that atmosphere,” Meyer said. “It would be really great to have this place a packed house. It would be really exciting and the girls thrive with that extra energy. It was noticeable in the home games that we had.”

To some, coming off a season as disappointing as the Dinos’ 2014 campaign would be overwhelming. But what makes this team unique is their willingness to return to training with full force, refusing to give up despite their lack of success.

Their dedication to placing teamwork at the forefront of their preparations is also crucial. The bond shared between these girls is strong, and it’s that sense of family that takes their training to a new level.

It’s one thing to train hard, but doing so with joy and purpose is a much more promising formula for success.

“We’re pretty close,” Meyer said. “We’re tight-knit. We’re a family. We work hard for each other and we do our best for each other.”

That sense of family is easy to see, and it has the Dinos poised to make 2015 a season of redemption.

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