Antigonish, NS - The CIS #4-ranked StFX X-Women (4-0) put a stranglehold on first place in AUS regular season rugby action with a 32-7 win over the defending conference champion Acadia Axewomen (2-2) Sunday afternoon.
The match, on the turf at StFX Stadium, served as part of Homecoming 2016 festivities.
In the first half, during a five-minute span, the home side jumped to a 12-0 advantage.
In the ninth minute, after the X-Women pinned the Axewomen deep in their own zone, senior flanker Brooke Newsome (Brantford, ON) steamrolled her way through the pile for the try to make it 5-0. Sabrina McDaid (Scarborough, ON) came up short on the conversion attempt.
In the 14th minute, senior fullback Breanna Allison (Cole Harbour, NS) sped free from the pack and cruised in for an easy try. With a McDaid conversion, the X-Women led 12-0.
Midway through the first half, with the X-Women knocking on the door for another score, the Axewomen defense stiffened, with senior centre Gillian Bergsma (Waterford, ON) breaking free and making a great run to help relieve the pressure.
Off that stand, the Axewomen changed the field, and tested the X-Women deep in their own zone, but the home side defended exceptionally well. Nevertheless, Acadia broke through, in the 32nd minute, when freshman centre Natasha Johnson (Williams Lake, BC) shook loose and scored a try. After the conversion from freshman fullback Annie Kennedy (Kingston, ON), the visitors sliced the X-Women edge to 12-7.
Late in the opening half, spearheaded by a frontline push led by junior prop Joanna Alphonso (Ajax, ON) and sophomore prop Sam Lake (Windsor, NS), the X-Women continued to grind down the Axewomen. A short time after senior flanker Cyra Humber (Toronto, ON) got held up by the Acadia defenders, after she crossed the try line, Newsome collected her second try of the match, giving the X-Women a 17-7 lead in the 39th minute. McDaid's conversion attempt went wide right.
After a physical - and rainy - first half, StFX led Acadia 17-7.
In the second half, the Axewomen went on the attack early, but could not muster anything on the scoreboard.
Five minutes in, after a hit on Axewomen scrum half Laura Pfleiderer (150 Mile House, BC), senior prop/lock Ellen Murphy (Augustine Cove, PE) received a yellow card, leaving the X-Women one player short for 10 minutes. Despite taking the crushing blow, Pfleiderer remained in the match. Her team could not capitalize on the advantage.
After an Acadia penalty, 17 minutes into the second half, McDaid struck a boot out to touch. Off the ensuing line-out, near midfield, the Axewomen were able to take possession and move forward.
Just past the midway point, the X-Women made their deepest push into the Axewomen zone of the second half. From that sequence of play, the Axewomen secured a line-out opportunity. Off that set piece, the X-Women garnered a line-out of their own. After an Alphonso push forward, just five yards from the try line, the Axewomen were awarded a scrum. Off it, junior back row player Miranda Sample (Havelock, QC) was able to cross the try line, giving the X-Women a 22-7 edge. McDaid missed the conversion.
Just eight minutes later, in the 75th, Sample made it back-to-back scores, crossing the try line off, virtually, a carbon copy sequence of play.
In the 89th minute, Sample completed the hat-trick, with her third try in a 22-minute stretch to make it 32-7. Sample accounted for all 15 points in the second half in the StFX victory.
Allison was the Subway player of the match for the X-Women, while Pfleiderer earned top player honours for the Axewomen.
The X-Women return to the pitch Wednesday, Oct. 5, when they travel to Halifax to face the Saint Mary's Huskies, beginning at 7 p.m.
The Axewomen will be back in action Friday, Oct. 7, at 7 p.m., when they host the UPEI Panthers in Wolfville.
- 30 -
ACA 7-0: 7
StFX 17-15: 32
StFX – Brooke Newsome try, 9th minute
StFX – Breanna Allison try (Sabrina McDaid convert), 14th minute
Acadia - Natasha Johnson try (Annie Kennedy convert), 32nd minute
StFX - Brooke Newsome try, 39th minute
Subway Players of the Game
ACA: Laura Pfleiderer (150 Mile House, BC)
StFX: Breanna Allison (Cole Harbour, NS)
Try: 5 points
Penalty goal: 3 points
Convert: 2 points