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Taylor Dube Run vs Dal AC photo by Tanya Grealey

The St. Thomas University women’s rugby team is off to a fresh start this season. The team returns to the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association this year with over half a team of rookies and a new coach.

The team entered the Atlantic University Sports league in 2012 coming off an ACAA championship. Unfortunately, the team went winless for the two years they competed in the tougher division.

“I don’t feel like the scores of our games in the past two years reflected the hard work and dedication our team had,” said fifth-year player Kiersten Steeves.

Being a smaller university with a low recruitment base made it difficult for St. Thomas to compete against schools such as St. Francis Xavier University and Acadia University, once losing by as much as 104-0.

Instead of focusing on the past two years, the team re-enters the ACAA to pick up where they left off – at the top.

Now, with the transition of Meghan MacAfee from assistant to head coach, the team has their eyes set on the championship title.

“Meghan MacAfee understands our team dynamics perfectly and brings so much skill and knowledge to the program,” said team captain Meghan MacEachern.

Meghan MacAfee moves into the head coach position in place of previous coach Sherry Doiron. Joining her are new assistant coaches, Stephanie Pratt and Scott MacAfee, who bring different rugby styles and knowledge to the field.

“I’ve learned a lot from the previous coach and have been able to take what I’ve learned from her and others, along with my own experiences, to make this year feel different,” said Meghan MacAfee.

She has set the bar high for the season and is focusing on hard work that will allow them to contend in every game.

“We want to go into whatever we’re doing with commitment and intensity, whether that is practice, games, or fundraising.”

So far, the team’s efforts have paid off as they opened their season with a dominating 74-5 win over the Dalhousie Agricultural College Rams.

“The morale of the team is high and we are more excited than ever for the upcoming season,” said Steeves.

STU’s women’s rugby team, however, doesn’t plan to move back to the AUS anytime soon.

“We are taking things one step at a time,” says Meghan MacAfee. “Wherever we’re playing, we want to be known as a team that’s playing good rugby, knows how to work hard and have fun doing it.”

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