If positivity was a varsity sport, then the Badgers would be OUA champions. The women’s rugby team lost their game against the Queen’s Gaels 82-7, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell that by looking at their celebration after the match.
This was the team’s second loss of their four game regular season. They knew that this season would be a bigger challenge than their last, where they went undefeated in the regular season and earned a promotion to the Shiels division.
Queen’s dominated scoring early in the game. They led 26-0 at half time. The Badgers had an optimistic outlook, but they also knew that they didn’t truly stand much of a chance against the nationally ranked Gaels.
“We know we have to be realistic in goal setting when playing Queen’s, the number one ranked team in the country,” said Badgers head coach Mark Smerdon.
Queen’s is undefeated in their season. They beat Western 135-0, McMaster 100-0 and Guelph 54-19. The Badgers lone try against the Gaels was a massive achievement for a team who, going into the season, just hoped not to be relegated.
The try was scored by winger Loramhel Mateo. Miia Sorra picked the ball from the back of a scrum and handed it off to Mateo who surprised the Gaels with a burst of speed. Fly-half Taylor Knezevich successfully kicked for the convert.
Brock’s bench erupted in a celebration that drowned out everything else around them. The single try, to the team, meant as much — if not more — as if they had won.
“We have also talked about remaining positive with each other and celebrating the small victories within the game. All of our goals were met and clearly celebrated,” said Smerdon.
The Badgers managed to hold Queen’s to less than 100 points, which is an achievement in an of itself. Queen’s has consistently crushed teams offensively. The Badgers put up a good defensive fight. First year centre, Caitlin Mahaffy, played a full 80 minutes for the first time in her rookie career.
Smerdon has emphasized structure as a goal for the Badgers. The back line was much more tight and in tune during this match than they have been in the past
The Badgers are scheduled to play their fourth and final regular season game next weekend, at home, against the 2-1 Guelph Gryphons, who beat the Badgers in the OUA semifinals a season ago. The Gryphons went on to win the OUA title, but the Badgers feel good about their chances. Even if they don’t come away with the win, they’re sure to come away with new goals to work towards.
“As far as I am concerned, even though we took a heavy loss, Brock women’s rugby is moving in the right direction,” said Smerdon.
The Badgers are taking things slow when it comes to their development. They have the makings of a strong team, but they still have far to go to meet their potential.