Although the Concordia women’s rugby season only kicked off this past weekend, you couldn’t blame them if they were looking a bit further down the road.
Last season the Stingers fell victim to the powerhouse McGill Martlets in the QSSF championship game for the third straight year. If that stat isn’t enough to convince someone of the adversity that Concordia will face against its perennial rival, here’s another: the Stingers have come out on the short end in their last eight contests against the Martlets and are winless in their last nine games dating back to the ’98-’99 season.
It’s hard to believe that Concordia, which took little mercy on its opponents (excluding McGill) last year by outscoring them 374-0 in seven wins was hammered 50-0 in the championship game. And it still isn’t certain what team will be attempting to pry the championship out of the cold red hand of McGill this year.
“It’s still hard to say what the team will look like when it’s completed,” said Head Coach Sheila Turner who is in her sixth year at the helm. “We have a strong core of returning players and there’s a possibility to improve this year.”
A big reason for uncertainty as to who will be making the squad is that the team lost three of it’s top four scorers with the departures of Lynda Domazet, Leila El-Kayem and Joanne Auger.
Fortunately the team still has in its possession the MVP of MVPs and their top scorer with the return of Sommer Christie. The team captain said that despite some losses she is still confident with Concordia’s hopes at reclaiming the championship. “It’s just going to be about getting to know each other and learning to play together as a team,” Christie said, “I’m confident and we’re going after McGill with all we’ve got.”
Last year Christie was named All-Canadian for the first time, All-Star for the third straight year, and Concordia’s Athlete of the year.
Christie also expressed some relief that aside from the core of returning players there will be a couple of new additions that have playing experience. “We have some good rookies who have played club before and that’s not something we’ve always had the benefit of having before.”
Wondering about the other teams that Concordia will have to compete against within their conference? It really falls under the category of superfluous information but they are Bishops, Ottawa and Sherbrooke. These three teams combined for a total of 119 points scored in the 24 games played between them.
With that tidbit out of the way it’s easy to see why rugby fans should expect another hard fought battle between Concordia and McGill for the QSSF Championship. The Stingers will be looking to break the Martlet’s winning streak when the teams meet tonight at McGill at 8:00pm.