Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 CUC Preview: Women's Division


Canada's elite women's teams will be well represented in Winnipeg week. With the exception of the habitually truant Prime/Traffic team, every women's team in this country with a shot of national glory will be in attendance.

Schedule is not posted yet on the website, but it looks like a 12 team field with representation from coast to coast.

Here's my best bet at the rankings:

Lotus (Toronto, On)
2008 CUC Result- 4th

This team has clearly taken a step forward this season. The team has won all but one game thus far in their summer tournament schedule. In their only loss (No Borders final to Boston's Brute Squad) they lost a heart breaker on universe point and could have easily been the victor in that match as well.

I have to think this team is the favorite heading into nationals. Josee Guibord and the rest of the leadership group have established a 3 team system that feeds prospects to Lotus. When you look at this team in 2009, they seem to be very fit and have a lot of the pieces needed for a national champion.

The combination of established vets (Jo Guibord, Kaitlyn Hoodie Lovatt, Hadiya Roderique) with the emerging talent (Jordan Meron gets quality minutes already just turning 20, and Malissa Lundgren will be able to act as a tall aggressive handler for many years) and the performance of B team Lily makes me think this year might be the start of many great results.

Wild Rose (Calgary AB)
2008 CUC Result- Did Not Play

A new calgary squad that takes over from last year's bronze medalists (FLO) as city representative and nationals hopeful.

Their summer schedule was much lighter than teams in the east, but their ability to play teams like Zeitgeist, FURY, Schwa and Safari were valuable experiences regardless of the score. (and some of the scores were not pretty)

Storm (Montreal QC)
2008 CUC result- 2nd

Year two of Lorne Beckman's tenure sees Storm as one of the favorites for the national title once again.

After beating host Stella in the No Borders 2008 Saturday showcase game, this Montreal sqaud probably thought the CUC title was theirs when they met Stella in the finals. It failed to materialized, but all the hard work and progress of the season was not lost.

A very busy summer season with 2 tournament wins (White Mountain Open and Jazzfest) in four tournaments ensures this team has practiced and played enough to be ready for this week when it counts the most.

Sonia Krajicek, Karou Matsui, Marie-Ève Latendresse and Genevieve Dufresne are some of the longest serving and productive members of the team.

Fusion (Winnipeg MB)
2008 CUC result - 5th

The local team this year will impress. We had the honor of having a large part of this team come to No Borders this year under the name Toba Party, and they were as talented as they were easy to deal with.

Leah Parker and her teammates present at Borders 2009 crushed lower seeded squads on day one and impressed several Brute Squad players with the performance they gave versus the eventual champs in quarters. Particularly striking to me was that there were several players on the team that seem to have a unique blend of youth/skill and athleticism.

With a full squad and home field advantage, I can't see this team not having a good tournament.

Stella (Ottawa On)

2008 CUC Result- 1st, Champions

Last year's champs drop due to tournament seeding protocol and a summer of record rainfall which prevented key matchups for seeding.

This team is missing some players like Ally Lemay-Flynn (Baby) Anita Benoit (Knee) and Alex Benedict (World Travel) but the majority of the championship team from last year remains. They are still an elite team and will be a fixture in the semis at the very least.

You can expect the team to be lead by Kate Crump, Anne Mercier, and Danielle Fortin. Behind that trio is a plethora of skilled veterans like Jenna McBride, Sonia Komenda, Kathryn Pohran, and Cheryl Wadasinghe. Currently, their major deep striker is Liz Love. Love is a former Liquid and Ringers of Fire player who is one of the most fit women in division, albeit a little undersized for her role.

Zephyr (Vancouver BC) 2008 CUC results: DNP

Last year's Luna Tide (7th at CUC 2008) is this year's Zephyr. Word has it that the team has taken a step forward amidst the change and is excited about the final.

Much like Wild Rose, we haven't seen much of this team and they took some lumps versus very good teams in both Flowerbowl and Solstice.

Expect this team to be a fixture in quarter final play. I can't say enough good things about former teammate and Zephyr captain Nancy Symons.

QUB (Quebec City, QC) 2008 CUC result: DNP

My vote for the most improved squad from the Ontario/Quebec region. The played over four tournaments this summer, finished second at Jazzfest to Storm and seem to have closed a large part of the gap between them and Stella/Lotus/ Storm.

This season has already been a success for them, so look for them to enter the fray with no pressure and new confidence.

PPF (Waterloo, ON) 2008 CUC result: 6th

After a great first season, the team's progress has been slowed in year two. How can we explain the sophmore jinx? Simply by injuries and missing key players during key tournaments.

The loss of captain Darcy Drummond is devastating, but it should be a time for the other athletes and skill players to step forward.

It's not an athletic issue when it comes to this team challenging the titans in the pool. These girls can bring it.

SALTY 2008 CUC Result: 11th

Halifax's finest ladies are back this year and are bringing a much stronger version to the table than 2008. You have to admire the travel Halifax teams do during the season to get the games needed to improve, and Salty proved they should be one of the teams left standing when quarter finals start on Saturday.

Coach Scotty Macdonald has an extremely likable personality (stretching back from his GLU playing days) and he is committed to the Halifax ladies program. His help on the sideline as a leader will be invaluable.

Sirens (Regina SK) 2008 CUC result: 9th

Sirens assumes the usual role of underated and and unknown prarie squad. An annual participant at nationals, this team should expect to be in the middle of the fight for the last 3 quarter final spots.

Mystik (Montreal QC) 2008 CUC Result: DNP

Montreal finally adopts an A-B women's club system and the results for the expansion team have been excellent.

Pulling from a long list of local coed teams that are taking a step back this year, Mystik was able to pick up some veterans to go with the new players who will be prepared for Storm in future years. They don't like the B team label, and they're ready to shed it at nationals.

Lily (Toronto, ON) 2008 CUC result: DNP

I have to admit that I was one of the people who saw the battles between Lily and Scarlett early in the season (No Surf and Jazz) and thought Regionals would have a very close match to determine who made it to nationals.

That was not the case.

With all Lotus and Stella help out of the picture, Lily is clearly the better team this year and will be bringing one big weapon to nationals- a suffocating zone d that will cause trouble for most of the ladies teams in the field. Want a comparison? Think Grand Trunk last year with their zone on day 2 at nationals.

Huge shout out to Lily players and Western alums Michelle Chandler and especially Christine Moore... Moore knows why!!! :)


Dalhousie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lank89 said...


sirens beat Fusion in their regional on universe. Then Fusion beat them the next day by a few. Both praries teams are strong this year.

jordomeron said...

these results should be interesting given the unknown teams such a zephyr. Mal will absolutely bring it at nats and you can be sure she will be pulling down absolutely everything. some new faces to watch are erica tucker and alena papayenis who are both dominating on lotus d.