A raucous Bishop’s crowd was left silent on Friday night as the Stingers made their mark on the Gaiters homecoming, winning 17-8.
Even though ConU went down 3-0 early, the team was able to recover without letting the Gaiters add to the score. Heckles and chirps from the home crowd made communication between players rather difficult, to say the least.
In the final moments of the first half, Bishop’s would take a costly penalty. From 45 yards out, Stingers kicker Joey Fulginiti successfully sent the ball through the uprights to tie the match going into the second half.
“I heard about the [Bishop’s] crowd before, but you have to experience it,” said Fulginiti. “With everyone heckling you and screaming at you, the only thing you can do to silence them is to make the kicks.”
The game-tying kick at the end of the first half was a confidence booster for the Stingers.
“That was huge,” said coach Clive Gibson. “There was no time left and we managed to tie it. It’s a whole different way of looking at the game when you’re tied instead of being down going into the half.”
Concordia started the second half with a surge of energy, scoring a try that came off a scrum on the Bishop’s five. The Stingers repeatedly crashed the line before Vasken Redwanly sealed the score.
A Stingers substitution at half-time saw scrum half Kevin Elliott take the field. This move changed the game, as it brought a more control-oriented feeling.
“The gameplan was to be a little more controlled, a little more poised and you saw it from the forwards who just manhandled Bishop’s,” said Elliott, who believes the forwards are one of the main reasons behind the victory.
Although Bishop’s did manage to make it close by scoring a try, it was their kicking game that would cost them. The Gaiters missed three chances to put up points.
With eight minutes remaining, Con U sealed the game from Dario Pellizzari’s try off a scrum down on the Bishop’s five.
“We couldn’t afford to lose a scrum in their zone, so we saw an opening blind side and took it in,” said Pellizzari. “We got pushed back a little in the beginning, but we dug deep and played like we knew we could.”
Despite the win, Gibson still believes there are improvements to be made by his team.
“We need to play the game at our pace and control the tempo a little bit better,” he said.
The Stingers hope to work on this before their next game on Wednesday, Oct. 3 against McGill.