By Thomas Becker
Tara Campbell ran wild against the Saint Mary's Huskies, as the UPEI Panthers came away with their first win of the season 65-5.
The fourth-year flyhalf had her best game as a Panther, scoring four trys —three of which came on runs just inside the 50-yard mark.
"I was set up beautifully by my teammates all game, all I had to do was run," said Campbell who was named the Subway Player of the Game. "This is the best I've seen this team play all season and I think we finally found our way."
Before Campbell went off for her incredible game, it was Mia Fradsham who kicked off the scoring barrage with a 40-yard spurt set up perfectly by Sophie Carragher following a dominant scrum. On the ensuing possession, Campbell took a great feed from Agustina Cohen and dashed through a hole for a 50-yard run and score, as the Panthers carried a 14-0 lead seven minutes into the contest.
UPEI extended their lead 19-0 in the 14th minute when Elizabeth McQuaid bullied her way to a hard-fought try that took multiple attempts near the try line to finally touch down.
After another powerful scrum, Fradsham played the ball perfectly to Cohen who offloaded it to Campbell for the 45-yard try, pushing the lead to 26-0 through 27 minutes.
Six minutes later, Madison Clements went for 25 yards and near the try line before Frances MacWilliam muscled her way through to finish it off. MacWilliam also finished 5-for-7 in conversion attempts and said after the game that she was just happy to play offence following three games of having to defend against some of the country's best opponents.
"It's nice to play some offence," she said. "We brought it all week in practice and we showed on the field today that we wanted the win."
Before the first half ended, Campbell found another hole and took the ball all the way down to the five-yard line, where Madeline Shea benefitted from a couple offloads for the team's sixth try of the half.
Campbell continued to exploit the Huskies' defence five minutes into the second half as she ran it in for her third try, pushing the lead to 45-0.
The Panthers showed off the strength their known for midway through the half, when their scrum pushed Saint Mary's back five yards leading to a Mackenzie Hale score — her first in the AUS.
A lapse in focus moments later cost UPEI a shutout as Huskies' Brianna Willis broke several tackles for the team's only try.
Emily Duffy came on strong late in the game and forced her way to some hard earned yardage, while dragging defenders along the way. She'd score in the 66th minute giving her team the 55-5 advantage.
With minutes remaining, Comeau recorded her first try of the season, followed by Campbell's fourth which came off another long run.
Head coach John LaBoyne said he was pleased with how his offence performed, especially the decision-making that led to easy scores.
"It's not about just attacking what's there, it's about creating what you attack against by influencing where they go and I thought we did that today."
The Panthers look to make it back-to-back wins against the Huskies when they travel to Halifax for an Oct. 6 rematch.