Mounties lost to Dal AC in potential ACAA championship bout.
The Mount Allison Women’s Rugby team hosted their last home game of the regular season against the Dalhousie Agricultural College (Dal AC) Rams this past Saturday. In their first meeting earlier in the season, the Mounties took home a close win, and were hoping for a repeat in this game.
The game kicked off with a strong offensive effort by the Rams, forcing the home team into their own end for the majority of the first half. When they finally pushed the ball over the line, the Mounties responded quickly with a try from Sydney Phelan and a convert by Sydney Mann, putting the score at 7-5 for Mt. A.
The offensive momentum continued for the Mounties, dominating Dal AC in the scrums and set pieces. Just before the whistle was blown for half, a Rams player received a yellow card for dangerous play, which gave Mt. A a one player advantage entering into the second half.
It was an even match for most of the half, with the Mounties shutting down the Rams’ strong offensive backfield with huge tackles from rookie Julie Richard and second-year player Amanda Rundle. A hard tackle by the Rams resulted in the loss of veteran player Laura Windhorst with an injury, but the Mounties persevered, as Mann ran in another try off of a set play.
The Rams picked up their game in the last quarter, pushing the Mounties back into their own end. Mt. A’s nerves got the best of them, and they began to make high tackles, resulting in a number of penalties, and a yellow card for rookie Catherine Bannon. Dal AC capitalized on the one man advantage, and pushed through the Mounties defensive line to bring the score to 12-10.
The battle continued, and a strong defensive effort from the home team kept the score unchanged until the last five minutes, when a missed tackle resulted in the Rams’ winger running the ball into the end zone, and adding a two point conversion. The Mounties fought back with a strong burst of offensive play in the dying minutes, but were not able to beat the whistle, and the game ended with a final score of 17-12 for the Rams.
Having secured their spot in the finals with this win, the Rams will face off against Mt. A in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) championships on November 3. “We expect another game within five [points] or less again for finals,” said Dal AC coach Owen Hutchison.
The Rams scrumhalf Georgia Lewis also commented on the championship matchup: “It’s such a fair match; there’s no way of knowing what the outcome is going to be. We have such great players on both sides,” she said.
Although the loss ended the Mounties’ perfect regular season, captain Sydney Mann was still pleased with her team’s effort. “It was a lot better than our past games, probably the best so far. It’s just too bad the score didn’t show that. A lot of people stepped up to really make a difference in our scrums,” Mann said.
Third-year veteran Anne Haley, who returned to play on Park St. field for the first time this season after struggling with ankle injuries throughout the last year, felt the game would have turned out differently if the Mounties had avoided the penalties in the second half.
“I thought it was a really hard-fought game; the forwards really powered through the scrums and the backs made some great plays. The only thing we really got caught on is penalties,” Haley said.
The Mounties will resume practice on Monday to fine tune their skills before they face off against the Rams again in the finals. Home field advantage will be determined by the outcome of the Mt. A vs. King’s College game October 20 in Halifax.
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