By Thomas Becker
The Panthers Field Hockey team is gearing up for a big weekend ahead.
After a successful tournament at UNB earlier this month, where they went an impressive 2-1-1, the Panthers return home and play the role of hosts for the second tournament of the Atlantic University Field Hockey (AUFH) season.
"We've had a few weeks of practice and a tournament under our belt," said head coach Lacey MacLauchlan. "We went into UNB without any expectations and I was happy with our level of play."
The three-day event, set for Sept. 29-Oct. 1, will feature the Acadia Axewomen, Dalhousie Tigers, St. FX X-Women, Saint Mary's Huskies, Mount Allison Mounties, and UNB Varsity Reds as competing universities.
As hosts, MacLauchlan said there's a sense of pride playing in front of friends and family. But there's also the added pressure to compete at a high level and challenge top-tier teams like the Huskies and Tigers.
To challenge them, the team has been working tirelessly on their offensive and defensive schemes and integrating them in game-like situations during practice.
"I'm hoping to see our team incorporate some of what we've been working on over the past couple of weeks throughout the weekend," the coach said.
Led by veterans Hannah Gormley and Karleigh McEwen in midfield and Alyssa Ferguson and Sarah Sear up front, the Panthers have a potent offence that can compete with the best of them. Goaltender Jacklyn MacKinnon acts as the leader on the defensive end, shutting opposing teams down. While fifth-year player MacKenzie Deighan's versatility at the midfield and defensive positions rounds out a formidable lineup looking to put on a show at UPEI.
"In order to be successful this weekend, we'll need to be solid defensively, while taking advantage of our speed and goal opportunities."
The tournament will be another good test for a Panthers squad looking to take home the ultimate prize in October – the AUFH Championship.
"We'll come back from this weekend and have a few hard weeks of practice and hopefully bring everything together for the championship weekend in Halifax," MacLauchlan said.
But for now, their attention is squarely focused on the task at hand.
Friday, Sept. 29
5 p.m. UPEI vs. SMU
7 p.m. St. FX vs. UPEI
9 p.m. SMU vs. St. FX
Saturday, Sept. 30
11 a.m. Mt. A vs. St. FX
12:10 p.m. SMU vs. DAL
1:20 p.m. UPEI vs. UNB
2:30 p.m. St. FX vs. ACA
3:40 p.m. UNB vs. SMU
4:50 p.m. DAL vs. UPEI
5:50 p.m. ACA vs. SMU
7 p.m. UPEI vs. Mt. A
Sunday, Oct. 1
7 a.m. ACA vs. Mt. A
8:10 a.m. DAL vs. UNB
9:45 a.m. DAL vs. Mt. A
10:55 a.m. UNB vs. ACA