St. Thomas natives Dennis and Safadi at U18 women's field hockey Nationals
Friday, July 5, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
SURREY, B.C. - Braelyn Dennis and Amber Safadi are having an experience of a lifetime.
The two St. Thomas natives are with Team Ontario West at the under-18 women's outdoor field hockey National championship, a nine team tournament, July 4-8.
Today, Dennis scored twice in a 11-0 romp over Team Quebec, helping Team Ontario West even their pool record at 1-1. Ontario West dropped their opening game, 3-1 to the B.C. Stangs.
"Awesome," said Dennis, on scoring her first goals on the National stage. "Our team played very well and I was fortunate enough to contribute. We are hoping to win tomorrow (versus) Alberta and advance to the semifinals."
Dennis and Safadi were part of the Parkside Stampeders' OFSAA silver medal winning team last November. Earlier this year, both were selected to the provincial under-19 women's indoor field hockey team.
Then in May, both received word of making the Ontario West roster for the National tournament, leading to several two and three hour practices throughout June.
"I've learned it is really crucial for us to play as a team, always do our part and just the exposure has made me a better player," said Dennis.
Not surprising, the game on the National scene features more speed and skill.
""It's an awesome experience. It's a much faster pace and there are some things at Nationals that you would never see in a school game," said Safadi. "They do a lot of 3D skills, such as bop, where you bounce the ball over the opponent's stick. Some girls carry the ball on their stick and run. It's just faster movement."
Team Ontario West is coached by Michelle Turley, a St. Thomas native and the head coach at the University of Guelph.
Dennis will be heading to Guelph next month for school and field hockey. Safadi returns to PCI for Grade 12.