The Brock women’s rugby team was kept on their toes this Saturday in a game against Laurier. The Badgers ultimately triumphed 69-17 over the Golden Hawks, but not without dedication and resilience from the entire team.
The Golden Hawks had the Badgers playing defensively in the first half, challenging the team. The women buckled down and rose to the occasion, stealing the ball and getting their heads in the game. At halftime the score was 24-17, there was only a single try separating the two teams. The Badgers scored 45 unanswered points in the second half.
At halftime the women talked about adjustments they could make to their game play which allowed them to shut down the Golden Hawks and play an offensive game. They took the game one phase at a time. Coach Stefanie Pavlovich complimented her team’s focus and intensity, observing the consistently high energy that the girls put into the game, even as they lead by several tries.
Laurier played a strong game and the team is thankful to have started their season facing a team that has consistently shown up and posed a challenge.
Captain, Kaitlyn Heyens provided strong leadership for the team and also earned herself one try for five points.
Leading the team in scoring was Taylour Hourd who scored five tries for 25 points, Meagan Hart and Lane Hessels were not far behind her with Hart kicking five conversions for 10 points and Hessels scoring two tries for 10 points. Hessels’ game looks particularly impressive when one stops to notice that this is her first year playing at the university level.
Katelyn Heyens, Breanna Jeremiah, and Karenna Ottywill all scored one try each resulting in a collective fifteen points. Ottywill and Jeremiah are also first year students, adjusting well to the new experience of OUA rugby.
The men also played a game this weekend, however they experienced very different results. They played a Sunday night game against Waterloo, which they lost 75-5.
“The score says everything that there is to say. It is what it is,” said head coach Phil Sullivan.
The young team expected to struggle early in the year but a loss of this magnitude shocked and disappointed them. Many of the team are in their first or second year with the team and Sullivan sees this loss as part of the process. He expects his fourth and fifth year students to step into leadership roles, guiding the younger students to achieve their full potential.
One student who Sullivan believes has a great deal of potential is Devon Ollson. Ollson is in his first year with the team. He played rugby for his high school team last year and is still settling in to playing rugby at the university level. He played a strong dangerous game and Sullivan is excited to see how he’ll grow in his time with the Badgers. Ollson played half the game and his performance was impressive.
Ultimately the team sees this as a learning opportunity and a chance to grow. The team is always looking for ways to improve, after this loss, Sullivan says that it’s clear exactly what that is. The way that the team played was admirable, but ultimately factors both in an and out of the team’s control contributed to the crushing defeat.
The men may not have come away from this game with a victory but they did come away with an opportunity to become a stronger team. A defeat like this could either break a team or bring them closer together. Sullivan hopes for the latter. This is an opportunity for the team to build character and see what kind of people their teammates truly are, and consequently, what kind of team they hope to become.
The men and women will be playing back to back games next Saturday on the Varsity rugby field. The women will be playing Toronto at 1:00 p.m. and the men will be playing McMaster at 3:00 p.m.