Antigonish, NS – The U SPORTS No. 2 ranked StFX X-Women defeated the UPEI Panthers by 83-5 margin on a misty Homecoming Friday night, and, in doing so, honoured the recently inducted StFX Sports Hall of Fame 2006 national championship team who were in attendance.
The X-Women's victory was, just as a week ago against Acadia, based on a dominant set piece. As much as rugby is now a free flowing game, with handling skills a requirement for every player, if your team does not possess a solid scrum or lineout from which to attack, the opportunity to attack will not present itself.
StFX's first try of the match came from dominant forward play. A well-worked line out was completed by a close run in by Amelia Hatfield (Halifax, NS) and a nice pick up and finish by fellow lock, Sarah McCarron (Antigonish, NS).
X's second score was a brilliant 40 metre run by Sarah Hoerig (Whitby, ON). The play began with a great off load by Sam Lake (Windsor, NS) to Sophia Parker (Windsor, NS) whose short pass to Meghan Buchanan (Lethbridge, AB) ended up in the sure hands of Hoerig.
The X-Women cemented their lead with an Olivia DeMerchant try to establish a dominant early 17-0 first half lead.
StFX's fourth try of the opening half was made by the boot of Danielle Franada (Grand Prairie, AB), who was strong at her first run in the 10 jersey this year. Seeing no gaps in the Panther defence, she kicked downfield, rushed to retrieve the ball, and then kicked ahead again. The second kick found the welcoming hands of Hoerig, who touched down for the second time in the game, giving X a 24-0 advantage.
The scrum was a key battle throughout the evening. For the first number of scrums the Panthers gave as good as they got, but X soon began to turn the screw. The veteran DeMerchant took advantage of StFX's superiority in scoring her second try in the 26th minute.
In the last ten minutes of the opening half, the precision darts of Danielle Cormier (Halifax, NS) led to StFX's next two tries. She twice found Anna Horner (Stouffville, ON) at first jumper, which led to methodical mauls to the Panther try line. Cormier touched down herself, and then Sam Lake concluded the half with a just reward for her work as the X-Women lead 43-0 at halftime.
The second half began as it ended for the X-Women with Horner once again being perfectly hoisted into the air and bringing down the ball, but this time it was in the form of a lineout steal near the Panther line and Danielle Cormier completing the score.
The Panthers, who were excellent for a good part of the second half, scored their first try of the match courtesy of a surging run by Laura Sheidow (Summerside, PE). A precision line out throw to Nicole Davies (Stratford, PE) and good passing by the half-back axis of Tessa Hood (Charlottetown, PE) and Tara Campbell (Summerside, PE) led to a great run by Anneke Dykerman (Charlottetown, PE), who sliced through the X defence. The Panthers recycled the ball well and forced StFX to commit a penalty. A quick tap and pass by Hood led to Sheidow crossing over.
The X-Women were quick to reply and ran in a series of tries. Joanna Alphonso (Ajax, ON), who was held scoreless in the first half, put her name on the scoresheet by touching down in the 65th minute and completing another nice StFX lineout maul. The next try was made possible by rookie prop Maddie Harroun (Halifax, NS) whose rampaging run led to Sara Hoerig's third try of the match, giving StFX a 64-5 lead.
Danielle Franada, already with seven conversions in the game, scored a try after making a nice run with numerous Panthers missing tackles along the way. She finished, as is a kicker's want, under the posts, then coolly slotted the conversion. Franada was excellent all evening from the tee, finishing with nine conversions and just narrowly missing on the other attempts.
The final two tries of the night belonged to Meghan Buchanan. The first showed her ability to time a nice run, and the second showed her power as the Panthers backs were unable to tackle her as she touched down to finish off the match.
Despite the score line, well the losing side played well and the Panthers are a solid rugby team in the AUS conference. StFX are the ranked second in Canada because they are an excellent team that turn pressure into points, and capitalize on other team's mistakes.
Next up on the AUS schedule sees the Panthers play host to Acadia on Saturday, October 6th at 2:00 pm. The X-Women travel to Halifax to play Saint Mary's this coming Wednesday at 7:00 pm.
Courtesy Bart Sears, StFX Sports Information
UPEI 0-5: 5
StFX 43-40: 83
StFX – Sarah McCarron try, 4th minute
StFX – Sarah Hoerig try (Danielle Franada convert), 6th minute
StFX – Olivia DeMerchant try, 12th minute
StFX – Sarah Hoerig try (Danielle Franada convert), 14th minute
StFX – Olivia DeMerchant try (Danielle Franada convert), 26th minute
StFX – Danielle Cormier try (Danielle Franada convert), 35th minute
StFX – Sam Lake try, 38th minute
StFX – Danielle Cormier try (Danielle Franada convert), 45th minute
UPEI – Lauren Sheidow try, 49th minute
StFX – Joanna Alphonso try (Danielle Franada convert), 65th minute
StFX – Sarah Hoerig try (Danielle Franada convert), 67th minute
StFX – Danielle Franada try (Danielle Franada convert), 73rd minute
StFX – Meghan Buchanan try (Danielle Franada convert), 77th minute
StFX – Meghan Buchanan try, 80th minute