By Thomas Becker
After a couple tough losses against two of the nation's top-tier rugby teams, the Panthers put forth a strong effort in a 43-14 win over the Saint Mary's Huskies Saturday afternoon.
Head coach John LaBoyne was pleased to see his team bounce back and show what they're truly capable of – a team that excels on the edges with their speed and passing, but also physical enough to compete in rucks and scrums.
"We've been concentrating on rucking and tackling all week and today it showed," LaBoyne said.
It took a while for UPEI to get going, but when they did, they couldn't be stopped. However, it was Saint Mary's Brittany MacKinnon (conversion by Elish Redshaw) who scored the opening try for the early 7-0 lead.
Four minutes later, the floodgates opened for the Panthers who suddenly took control of the game. Terrisa Lynch was the first to score on a try from the right side, trimming the deficit 7-5.
After gaining possession from a scrum, Madeline Shea found an open Alysha Corrigan, who sprinted through the Huskies' defence untouched for the 60-yard try and a 12-7 edge.
In the 20th minute, three crisp and accurate passes led to a Stephanie Richardson try up the right side, pushing the lead to 17-7.
Rookie Kalie Mackinnon got in on the action just four minutes later, crossing the goal line on a 60-yard sprint for the 24-7 advantage.
"We had a number of rookies come in and step right up," LaBoyne said. "The level of play didn't drop off when they came in and I'm really happy about that."
The Huskies trimmed the deficit 24-14 on a try by Emma Burry, but UPEI's Amy Hickey responded with a try of her own in the dying seconds of the half, when she stole a ball that leaked through Saint Mary's side of the scrum.
Rookie Ayrna Rogers opened the scoring in the second half on a nice feed from Corrigan leading her through an open lane on the left side, extending the lead 36-14. Hickey then converted her second try of the game just six minutes later, as the Panthers improved to 1-2 with 43-14 final.
"They were confident going in to the game and I thought they played that way on the field," LaBoyne said.
With a try and four conversions, Corrigan was named Subway Player of the Game.
The Panthers hit the road next where they'll take on the defending national champions St. FX X-Women on Oct. 1 at 2 p.m.
SMU – Brittany MacKinnon 4th minute try (Elish Redshaw convert) – 7-0 SMU
UPEI – Terrisa Lynch 8th minute try – 7-5 SMU
UPEI – Alysha Corrigan 11th minute try (Alysha Corrigan convert) – 12-7 UPEI
UPEI – Stephanie Richardson 20th minute try – 17-7 UPEI
UPEI – Kalie Mackinnon 24th minute try (Alysha Corrigan convert) – 24-7 UPEI
SMU – Emma Burry 33rd minute try (Elish Redshaw convert) – 24-14 UPEI
UPEI – Amy Hickey 40th minute try (Alysha Corrigan convert) – 31-14 UPEI
UPEI – Ayrna Rogers 67th minute try – 36-14 UPEI
UPEI – Amy Hickey 73rd minute try (Alysha Corrigan convert) – 43-14 UPEI