Though it was a quiet weekend at Brock, there was plenty going on on the road for the Badgers. Most notably, the women’s rugby team wrapped up their season with a 76-7 win against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on their turf. The women’s rugby team finishes the regular season scoring a total of 353 points while only giving up 24 points in four games. This season has been a drastic change from last year, when the Badgers gave up 337 points and only scored 88 points in six contests in 2016.
“The biggest change on the field has been our overall fitness and speed,” second-year head coach Stefanie Pavlovich said of her team. “The biggest change off the field has been the overall buy-in to our system and the willingness to be the best student-athletes that they possibly can be.”
Pavlovich praised the returning players for their work during the off-season at the Brock Sports Performance Centre. “We have a fantastic group [of returning players] who have put in the time and effort with our off-season training program.”
When discussing the first-year players, Pavlovich said, “We have an electric group of incoming players that are truly passionate about this sport — the combination of the two has made for a wonderful team dynamic.”
“Everyone is feeling very proud to be a Brock Badger. Both incoming and returning student-athletes are also incredibly humbled with all of the university support — the excitement in the community is definitely a contributing factor to their determination,” Coach Pavlovich said of the energy around the team after completing the first-ever undefeated season for the women’s rugby program.
“As for the coaches, we feel very grateful to have this opportunity to coach such amazing young ladies. We’re very thankful for all of the support this program has received this year from the community.”
When asked how the team will prepare for their quarterfinal opponent York (who are 1-3 this season, with their only win being against Western), Pavlovich said, “York will be our most challenging game yet. They are a very physical team, as they are strong at the breakdown and in open-field play.”
The Badgers opened last season against the Lions, being shutout by a score of 70-0. “We know who their impact players are, as we had the opportunity to play them last year. We plan to utilize our speed and tenacity to continuously increase the pace of our game and keep the ball in our hands.”
Pavlovich also mentioned that it is important for the team to keep their focus this week in practice. “We need to increase our intensity so that we are physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to get through this next game.”
Though the week ahead will be all business for the Badgers, Pavlovich made it clear that her team has every right to be proud of what they’ve done so far. “[They] need to know how proud our entire coaching staff is of their achievements thus far,” but Pavlovich added that, “We know their journey is not over yet, and they need to believe that too. This week is all about turning our intentions into affirmations. This week’s practice will be the most challenging to date, but if they put in the hard work and effort, they will witness first hand how far they can go.”
“Throughout the regular season, we have told them to be humble, but hungry, and that will continue to be our message as we prepare for our quarterfinal game.”
Brock will travel to York University’s Alumni Field on Friday at 7:00 p.m. for their OUA quarterfinal game. The winner will advance to the OUA final four next weekend.