Women’s rugby team suffers their first loss

St. Thomas University’s women’s rugby team suffered their first loss of the year Friday night at the hands of the Mount Allison University Mounties. Their physical game was matched by a determined Mounties team as the half-time lead wasn’t enough to prevent a 24-12 defeat.

The first half saw St. Thomas attacking ferociously in the Mounties half. Though Mount Allison had breaks of their own, Hillary Shields and Taylor Dube were a nightmare for defenders. At about the 25 minute mark, with STU pounding away at the line, captain Meghan MacEachern blasted through several defenders only to be high tackled and awarded a penalty try. Kiersten Steeves made the conversion under the posts and the Tommies held a 7-0 lead for most of the first half.

“We knew it would be tough and we went into the game with some nerves,” said veteran winger Kaitlin Gamble. “We knew it was going to be a big game for us.”

One turning point came when Emma Jones received a yellow card for a high tackle late in the first half, and had to sit out for ten minutes. That meant STU had to play down one player. Mount Alison was able to score a try but STU held a 7-5 lead at half.

In the second half, STU was unable to tame a speedy back three from the Mounties, who put in two more tries. STU answered back with a try from Taylor Dube but they ultimately fell short when the Mounties put the game away with another try in the final ten minutes.

STU won their previous two games by more than 70-points each, so this game was a change for them.

“The game against Mount Allison was the first tightly matched opposition this team has seen in years,” said assistant coach Stephanie Pratt. “This game showed us areas that are weaker than we thought. We’re really going to focus this week, the girls are already committed, and we have to work hard to walk away with the win on our field next Friday.”

STU now moves to 2-1 on the season. The rematch with Mount Allison takes place Friday night at Scotiabank South, where the Tommies hope for some revenge and to tarnish the Mounties’ perfect record.