It’s the birth of a new season for the STU Tommies women’s rugby team and head coach Meghan Morrison sees a lot of potential for her young team.
“We have 28 girls on our squad,” said Morrison. “[For] 12 of them, it’s their first year with us.”
Of those 12 new players, 10 of them are first-year students.
The team lost a lot of players after last season as most graduated, and there weren’t many of them who returned to STU to continue their education.
Morrison said that has sparked the need for a lot of learning opportunities on and off the field.
Although the Tommies lost their first league game of the season to the University of New Brunswick Ironwomen on Sunday, Sept. 11, Morrison said she sees plenty of room for growth.
“Our potential is huge, and we’ve got great rugby experience and great athleticism. All that stuff is there; it’s just a matter of getting used to playing.”
Morrison said the Tommies’ goal this year is to end up in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic final game once again.
Last year, the Tommies placed second in the ACAA championship, where they fell 14-5 to UNB.
The Tommies’ 2015 silver medal followed a season in which the team went 7-0-1 in league play.
“We’re going to do a lot more learning and improving this year than we did last year,” said Morrison.
Morrison said she is looking for leadership out of her returning players. She has already seen some of them rising up into new roles.
“Even some of our younger players in their second year have really had to step up as leaders because there are so many new players,” said Morrison.
As for the new players, Morrison said she is impressed with the group.
She said the Tommies have worked hard so far, and she doesn’t see it slowing down.
In pre-season action, the Tommies played a few exhibition games against teams in the Atlantic University Sport conference, which is a different league than the one in which they usually play.
STU won one of the conference games.
Morrison said it was a good experience for the girls, as the AUS teams were more challenging compared to STU’s regular level of play.
Though it’s early in the season, Morrison has a major prediction for the rest of the Tommies’ 2016 campaign.
That prediction is a change in the way the team plays as a whole.
“I think our team is going to play a lot differently at the end of the season than we are now,” said Morrison.
“I’m super pleased with everything I’ve seen so far and really excited to see what the team looks like at the end of the season.”
The Tommies first home game of the 2016 season against the University of King’s College Blue Devils on Sunday at Scotiabank Park South was cancelled and a make-up date has not been confirmed.
In STU’s next contest, the Tommies will travel to Truro to face the Dalhousie Agricultural College Rams on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 2 p.m.
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