Concordia’s women’s rugby squad asserted their dominance on Sunday with a decisive 76-0 victory over the Sherbrooke Vert et Or.
The score didn’t reflect the Stinger’s performance in the first half, however. Countless dropped balls and seven penalties would have cost Concordia against a stronger team.
“Against Laval or McGill these slip-ups would be punished but we got away with it here,” said head coach Graeme McGravie.
Concordia’s backs did manage to get their hands on the ball five minutes in for a play that led to a try by last week’s Stinger athlete of the week Laura Belvedere.
Only two minutes later, centre Jackie Tittley left the Vert et Or in the dust when she scored between the posts. She added the kick to her own try and increased the lead to 12-0.
Sherbrooke’s shoddy tackling let the Stingers repeatedly pass while being tackled. Concordia’s pack used this to set up Lea Leahy between the uprights for a try. Tittley added the kick to make it 19-0.
Sherbrooke’s lack of defence allowed Concordia’s backs to practice some of their more intricate plays. It also allowed fullback Jennifer Rosenbaum to join the line. This led to the Stinger’s next try when Rosenbaum exploited to the overlap and drew in the Sherbrooke fullback. A simple pass to Tittley and the score was 26-0.
Rosenbaum also set up the Stingers’ next try when she started a sequence of inside passing and then chipped the ball over the defenders’ heads. Captain Claire Hortop pounced on it and scored in the corner.
With two minutes left in the half, Belvedere added another try. She currently leads the Stinger’s scorers with seven tries in two games.
The Stingers were so powerful that they actually had to diminish their intensity to be able to play.
“When you’re playing a team that’s kind of at a lower level it isn’t easier.” said Hortop. “We couldn’t work on our mauls because there was nothing to push against. In the scrums we had to hold back, otherwise we would just push them over and the referee would call a penalty on us.”
In the second half the Stingers stepped up and played to their potential. McGravie began to use substitutes and the team benefited from fresh legs. “It’s good to know that some people can make a difference that we didn’t know about,” said McGravie.
Rookie eight-man Hughanna Gaw was the first to score in the second half. She emerged from a pile-up on the try line facing the wrong way but with the ball touched down in the try zone.
Under pressure the Vert et Or resorted to kicking the ball out of bounds. Unfortunately for Sherbrooke, the line-drive kick went straight into the arms of prop Vanessa Grillo. A short pass to wide open Ali Olshefsky and another try ensued.
This began a scoring blitz where Gaw and Rosenbaum each score within three minutes.
Concordia’s talent and fitness shone in the second half as they were playing a completely different calibre of rugby. Hortop was easily able to straight arm four defenders and stay on her feet to set up Gaw’s third try of the day.
Kim Whitty rounded out the afternoon’s scoring with support from Olshefsky and Sarah Scanlon. Tittely completed the kick to add the last two points to her 17-point game and earn this week’s athlete of the week.
This is Concordia’s second big win in as many weeks but the stiffest competition is yet to come. Both McGill and Laval are not going to be pushovers and the Stingers will have to be able to match their level of rugby.
The Stingers will get some more practice against the Vert et Or again on Friday night at 6:30 at Loyola Field.