St. Thomas women’s rugby came just short of a championship win on Saturday after losing against Mount Allison in the final minute of overtime. Playing in five inches of snow, the Tommies led most of the game but ultimately fell short 10-5 in Sackville. Both teams were 1-1 against each other during the regular season.
“It could not have been closer,” said head coach Meghan MacAfee. “I want every girl out there to know how proud of them we are.”
The Tommies had the edge in possession for most of the first half with their forwards slamming on the Mounties defence. Veteran scrum-half Marissa Walcott made life miserable for the Mounties and refused to let them get clean ball off the scrum.
STU was able to create space for their speedy backs. A clean break opened up enough space for Hillary Shields to score in the corner for the Tommies. STU was unable to get the extra points from the kick.
“It was a jumble of emotions, but everyone’s heart and true grit gave us the courage to keep playing and leave it all on the field,” said third-year player Meghan MacEachern.
STU’s defence was able to hold off the Mounties’ attempt at a try in the final minute of the first half, making sure they kept their 5-0 lead going into the halftime break. They weren’t able to prevent a Mount Allison try in the second half. The Mounties couldn’t convert for the extra points and the game was tied 5-5 for the final 10 minutes of play.
Going to extra time, each side saw stand out plays from backfielders. Steeves made a few sensational plays to clear the ball and Shannon Morris continued to spend the game levelling the Mounties. After two 10-minute segments of extra time, neither team had the advantage.
The game went on to sudden-death for another two 10-minute segments. After a quick tap off a penalty, the Mounties full back ran most of the field to touch down in the final minute of overtime. That gave the Mount Allison Mounties the ACAA championship.
After the game, Shannon Morris was also named rookie of the year for the ACAA. Hillary Shields, Kiersten Steeves and Marissa Walcott were named named to the All-Conference team for the Tommies, along with team captain Meghan MacEachern.
The strong season for the Tommies came off of two winless seasons in the AUS conference. This year, the Tommies came back to the ACAA.
“This mix of heart-filled players and coaching staff was the perfect recipe for our success. I’m proud of each and every member, and it has been an honour to co-captain such a wonderful group,” said MacEachern.