With a return trip to the CIS national championship tournament on the line, the Stingers knew they needed to play the game of their lives in Quebec City to advance past a Laval Rouge et Or team they’d lost to twice in the regular season.
In the first half of Saturday’s game, it looked as though the Stingers women’s rugby team learned from the two previous defeats and were going to atone for the regular season losses in the game that mattered most.
Just over 20 minutes into the first half, Concordia got on the board first on a try by Adara Borys. The Stingers didn’t wait long to score again either. Just over five minutes later, Traci Silva scored a try that would go unconverted, to give the Stingers a 12-0 lead.
Concordia headed into halftime with a 15-3 lead.
And then everything fell apart.
In a span of four minutes during the second half, Laval scored three tries. All were converted, and just like that Concordia’s 15-point lead turned into a nine-point deficit.
“We missed some tackles and they were just able to execute,” said Stingers coach Graeme McGravie.
A youthful Stingers team took a shock to the system, and were unable to close the flood gates against a much more experienced Laval team during the four minute onslaught.
“A lot of our players haven’t been here before, so it was tough for them to refocus and realize we have another 30 minutes to play,” said McGravie. “For the wheels to fall off like that was a shock. It was a blow to the ego.”
The Stingers were also at a disadvantage when veteran centre Latoya Blackwood left the game with a separated shoulder.
Eventually Concordia regrouped and was able to score some tries late. The damage was done, though.
Still, McGravie was proud of his team’s effort not only against Laval, but throughout the whole season.
“It would be easy for me to sit here and say I’m disappointed, but I’m not,” he said. I’m really optimistic about the program moving forward.”