Ravens Sports Information (Photo by Valerie Wutti)
OTTAWA – The Carleton Ravens are focused as they prepare to open the second half of their home schedules on Friday night. After opening 2023 with a sweep in Waterloo last weekend, head coaches Dani Sinclair and Taffe Charles have their teams looking at the build ahead.
“I think it’s all about building on what we have done and on a different level of focus,” recognizes coach Sinclair. “We talk all the time about how our training and preparation has to be at the very least, equal to or above what anyone else is doing.”
With the final games of the regular season now looming, the Ravens preparation will be team as both teams enter this weekend’s competition ranked in the U SPORTS Top 10, but neither team is ready to sit back and celebrate the standings.
Coach Charles recognizes the team has had what it needs to thus far, but that there is still room to grow. “Getting results is a good thing, but we’re not going to measure how well we played, just get better during the week and over the next couple of weekends.”
The men’s and women’s teams were both forced to quickly shake off the rust last Friday when they travelled to Waterloo. The women exchanged leads several times in a battle with the Warriors before finally pulling away late in what coach Sinclair described as one of the team's most complete performances of the season.
“[Last Friday] was our best team win of the season,” confessed coach Sinclair. “Across the board, it was nice to see a real team effort, especially in the fourth quarter.”
On Saturday, the men came up against a red-hot Golden Hawks team who had just defeated then #2 ranked uOttawa. The hosts came out firing, and though the Ravens pulled ahead a number of times, it took until late in the fourth quarter to put Laurier away.
“Laurier is a good group, they play well at home and had beat a good team the night before,” recognizes coach Charles. “I thought we played hard, we could always execute better, during certain moments of the game we took some leads, and we executed well.”
The Ravens now return home for a challenging two-game set that will see them host Ontario Tech on Friday, before welcoming a rested Gryphons team on Saturday.
“We talk about defence every day,” admits coach Sinclair. “The girls know that there is progress being made.” Asked about the root of the progress, the second-year head coach recognizes it’s a perfect storm of personnel. “It’s a combination of having veteran players who are two feet in and young players who are so competitive and have fit well with what we’re doing.”
While things are moving in the right direction, coach Sinclair acknowledges the work isn’t done. “There’s obviously still lots of room to grow there, but I think our base defensively is at a good spot with room to grow.”
Coach Charles summarized both teams’ outlooks on this stretch drive explaining it’s all about building momentum. “At the end of the day, we just need to find a way to play really good games at the end of the year. Getting results and putting ourselves into the best possible playoff spot is really important right now.”
The Ravens open their key homestand against Ontario Tech at 6:00 p.m. on Friday night before welcoming the Gryphons on Saturday with the doubleheader tipping off at 6:00 p.m.