Field Hockey Canada > Varsity Blues capture McCrae Cup in Guelph

Varsity Blues capture McCrae Cup in Guelph

November 7, 2010 | Field Hockey Canada |

Varsity Blues capture McCrae Cup in Guelph

November 7, 2010

GUELPH, Ont. (CIS) – Katherine McNeill scored with four minutes left in regulation to lead the third-seeded University of Toronto Varsity Blues to the 11th CIS women’s field hockey title in team history thanks to a 2-1 win over the defending champion UBC Thunderbirds, Sunday afternoon.

The OUA finalist Blues return home from the tournament hosted by the University of Guelph with an unblemished record (5-0), a first for Toronto since 1996.

Thanks to their first CIS banner since 2007, the Blues are now tied with Victoria in second place all-time for most McCrae Cup triumphs, one behind UBC.

McNeill, a third-year forward from North Vancouver, B.C., picked the ball out of a scramble on a rebound and pushed it by goalkeeper Bea Francisco of Richmond, B.C., for her second marker of the tournament.

Toronto had opened the scoring for the fifth time in as many games this week when rookie forward Alexandra Evanysnyn of Burlington, Ont., tallied her championship-leading sixth goal 15 minutes in.

All-Canadian forward Victoria Pearson of Tsawwassen, B.C., evened the affair in the 26th minute for No. 2 seed UBC with her third of the competition.

Much of the first half was played in the neutral zone. The U of T defence was strong, holding UBC to only one short corner in the opening 35 minutes. The Blues however were unable to capitalize on their five penalty corner opportunities.

At the 15-minute mark, CIS all-star Kyesia O’Neale of Mississauga, Ont., received a pass down the right hand line and dished it off to Evanysnyn, who charged into the circle. What was supposed to be a hard cross deflected off a UBC defender’s stick and into the net.

UBC did not back down and the pressure paid off. Pearson picked off a U of T switch attempt in the circle and with a powerful, diving reverse shot got the Canada West champions on the board.

Evanysnyn’s outstanding offensive performance continued in the second half as she carried the ball all the way from half, earning a penalty corner on which Toronto could not capitalize.

Francisco kept her team in the game after forward Kirsten Bertsch of Duncan, B.C., was sent off with a green card for rough play. Francisco made a diving stop on a Blues forward in alone in the 42nd minute.

A few minutes later, UBC had a goal called back on a short corner on a whistle that went just before the ball hit the backboard revealing a foul on a Blues player.

Toronto netminder Kathryn Williams of Burlington, Ont., who was in net for three of the Blues’ victories at the championship, was able to keep the ball out in the final few minutes despite pressure from UBC.

The Blues defensive core of Frankie Vondrejs from Terra Cotta, Ont., and North Vancouver natives Heather Haughn, Lauren Mansfield and Kelley Lusk neutralized the strong T-Bird attack.

The Blues started their celebration only after they hit away an offensive short corner away after the final whistle was blown.

Third-year Toronto defender Kaelan Watson of Richmond, B.C., was named MVP of the championship.

GAME NOTES: Toronto had last claimed the McCrae Cup at home in 2007 thanks to a 1-0 overtime win over Guelph… Toronto is now 2-3 all-time in CIS finals against UBC including wins in 2010 and 1988, and losses in 1983, 1982 and 1978… UBC defeated Alberta 6-0 in the 2009 final to capture its record 12th McCrae Cup… UBC was playing in its 18th CIS final since the inaugural championship in 1975, while Toronto was playing for CIS gold for the 17th time… Victoria holds the record of 19 appearances in the national final… Only six of the 36 CIS women’s field hockey finals (including 2010) have been played without UBC and/or Toronto – and all six have included Victoria (versus York in 1984, York in 1989, UNB in 1992, York in 1994, Alberta in 1987 and Alberta in 2008)…
TOR 1-1: 2
UBC 1-0: 1
First half
15th, TOR, Alexandra Evanysnyn (6)
26th, UBC, Victoria Pearson (3)
Second half
66th, TOR, Katherine McNeill (2)
TOR: Kathryn Williams (W, 70:00, GA, 3-0)
UBC: Bea Francisco (L, 70:00, GA, 3-2)
Players of the game
TOR: Kaelan Watson (Richmond, B.C.)
UBC: Samantha Saddler (West Vancouver, B.C.)
Championship MVP: Kaelan Watson (Richmond, B.C.), Toronto
R.W. Pugh Fair Play award: Waterloo Warriors
Perri Espeseth (Duncan, B.C.), Victoria
Caitlin Evans (Duncan, B.C.), UBC
Danielle Hennig (Kelowna, B.C.), Victoria
Kyla Kirby (Victoria, B.C.), Victoria
Sarah MacAulay (Vancouver, B.C.), UBC
Kyesia O’Neale (Mississauga, Ont.), Toronto
Victoria Pearson (Tsawwassen, B.C.), UBC
Natalie Sourisseau (Kelowna, B.C.), UBC
Brienne Stairs (Kitchener, Ont.), Guelph
Hannah Tighe (Penticton, B.C.) Toronto
Kaelan Watson (Richmond, B.C.), Toronto
1. Guelph Gryphons (OUA champions)
2. UBC Thunderbirds (Canada West champions)
3. Toronto Varsity Blues (OUA finalists)
4. Victoria Vikes (Canada West second place)
5. Waterloo Warriors (OUA bronze medallists)
Round-robin standings (FINAL after Saturday)
                       GP        W         L          T          GF       GA       PTS
1. Toronto        4          4          0          0          15          2         12
2. UBC              4          3          1          0            9          4           9
3. Victoria         4          2          2          0            7          5           6
4. Guelph         4          1          3           0           8          10          3
5. Waterloo      4          0          4          0            5          23          0
Thursday, Nov. 4
9:30 Round-Robin 1: UBC 2, Guelph 1
11:50 Round-Robin 2: Toronto 3, Victoria 0
15:30 Round-Robin 3: UBC 6, Waterloo 2
17:50 Round-Robin 4: Victoria 2, Guelph 1
Friday, Nov. 5
10:00 Round-Robin 5: Toronto 1, UBC 0
12:20 Round-Robin 6: Victoria 5, Waterloo 0
16:00 Round-Robin 7: Toronto 4, Guelph 1
Saturday, Nov. 6
10:00 Round-Robin 8: Toronto 7, Waterloo 1
12:20 Round-Robin 9: UBC 1, Victoria 0
16:00 Round-Robin 10: Guelph 5, Waterloo 2
Sunday, Nov. 7
10:00 Bronze medal: Guelph 3, Victoria 0
13:00 Championship final: Toronto 2, UBC 1