Antigonish, NS - The defending U SPORTS national champion and No. 1 ranked StFX X-Women were victorious over the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies Satursay afternoon, handling them by a convincing 81-7 scoreline, in front of close to 300 fans.
The X-Women dominated possession in the first half and led 50-0 at the interval. The first try of the afternoon was scored by rookie Maddison Arnott (Hamilton, ON) that came from a solid X scrum deep in the Huskies 22. The Huskies failed to clear their lines and X duly punished them.
StFX increased their lead to ten on the efforts of Jade Borden-Lee (Halifax, NS) who finished a fine scoring effort with fellow forwards Sam Lake (Windsor, NS) and Sophia Parker (Windsor, NS) showing nice passing skills.
Sam Lake was an absolute force in the first-half with her powerful runs as she occupied the 'middle pod' and received numerous passes from fly-half Hannah Ellis (Halifax, NS). Lake's efforts led to her to touch down for the third X-Women try of the half. Jaiden Weinrauch (Edmonton, AB) added the conversion to give X an early 17-0 lead.
The StFX forwards were the catalyst as they increased their first half lead. MacKenzie Bell's (New Glasgow, NS) lineout throw found the sure hands of Parker and a superb driving maul put X just yards from the Huskies try line. Fluid passing along the back line led to rookie winger Kathleen Dolan (Halifax, NS) crossing over the line. Though the play ended with a try, credit must be given to the Huskies forwards who eventually halted the maul and not conceding a penalty.
StFX's next try came via a nice kick into space by Ellis after she alertly recognized a gap in behind SMU's backline and her kick and kind bounce found the welcoming hands of Sara Hoerig (Whitby, ON) who raced in for the try.
The best try of the opening half was once again scored Hoering. In a lineout play straight off the training paddock a perfect throw by Bell to Parker quickly found the capable hands of Madison Ross (Coldbrook, NS), who connected with Ellis. Ellis hit Hoering, coming at full speed, with a perfect flat pass and she raced in for the try. Weinrauch added the extra two points to bring the score to 36-0.
The X-Women kept up the pressure on the Huskies as rookie second-row Emma MacDougall (Halifax, NS) charged over the try line in the 31st minute of play. Ross provided the conversion.
The first half ended just as it had begun, with a Maddison Arnott try. The X-Women once again found themselves up against the SMU line and, with the Huskies expecting X to keep it tight amongst the forward, the half-back pairing of Ross and Ellis spotted the open space and Arnott finished off a nice passing play in the end zone. Weinrauch booted her third conversion of the game to bring the score to 50-0 at halftime.
The second half saw numerous changes for both teams, which led to some loose play. The game was a tighter contest, but StFX was still the dominant force. Veteran back, Sammy Nadeau (Bewdley, ON) took over the fly-half reigns from Ellis and expertly marshalled her young back line. Her efforts were quickly rewarded as she crossed over for the first try of the second half on a 60-metre charging run through the SMU backline.
Tashayla Tynes (Halifax, NS), who provided a great pop pass for Nadeau's try, was the next to score for the X-Women. They advanced efficiently up the field through a number of phases and Tynes made herself available as first receiver and took the pass from replacement scrumhalf Chloe Cullen (North Vancouver, BC) and ran in for the try.
The X-Women's next two tries were scored by the rampaging sophomore prop, Maddie Harroun (Halifax, NS), who has not only an eye for the ball, but also for the slightest gap in defences. The last X try of the afternoon was just reward for the efforts of Madison Tingley (Moncton, NB), who did a great job lifting in the lineouts and was noticeable in her efforts both offensively and defensively throughout the afternoon.
The final score of the afternoon went to the visitors. Winger Heather Stanton (Digby, NS), who made some huge tackles in the game, showed a great burst of speed as she raced over the line to put the Huskies on the scoreboard. The conversion was made by Elish Redshaw (Point Edward, NS) to put the Huskies on the board, closing out the gamer at 81-7.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, the Huskies showed great resilience throughout the piece. Redshaw and Paige Parker (Ellerhouse, NS) made countless tackles and the forward pack was excellent against X at both scrum time and in the lineout. Julie Naugler (Stillwater, NS) did well at out-half and always looked to be positive in attack. In the game's final minute X looked to score another try, but a great try saving tackle by Kristen Gillespie (Mirimachi, NB) saved what was a certain try and is certain to give the Huskies a boost as they head into their next match.
Huskies back row Marissa McBride (Cambridge, NS) earned player of the game honours for her squad, while X-Women center Sarah Hoerig was the Subway player of the game.
Both teams will be back in action next weekend. The Huskies (0-2) host the Acadia Axewomen (2-0) on Saturday afternoon in Halifax, while the X-Women (2-0) will host UPEI (0-2) on Sunday afternoon at StFX Stadium. Kick-off for both games is 2:00 pm.
Courtesy Bart Sears, StFX Sports Information
SMU 0-7: 7
StFX 50-31: 81
StFX – Maddison Arnott try, 2nd minute
StFX – Jade Borden-Lee try, 8th minute
StFX – Sam Lake try (Jaiden Weinrauch convert), 13th minute
StFX – Kathleen Dolan try, 18th minute
StFX – Sarah Hoerig try (Madison Ross convert), 22nd minute
StFX – Sarah Hoerig try (Jaiden Weinrauch convert), 28th minute
StFX – Emma MacDougall try (Madison Ross convert), 31st minute
StFX – Maddison Arnott try, 37th minute
StFX – Sammy Nadeau try (Jaiden Weinrauch convert), 50th minute
StFX – Tashayla Tynes try (Jaiden Weinrauch convert), 53rd minute
StFX – Maddie Harroun try, 63rd minute
StFX – Maddie Harroun try (Jaiden Weinrauch convert), 66th minute
StFX – Madison Tingley try, 71st minute
SMU – Heather Stanton try (Elish Redshaw convert), 81st minute
SMU Player of the Game: Marissa McBride (Cambridge, NS)
StFX Player of the Game: Sarah Hoerig (Whitby, ON)
Try: 5 points
Penalty goal: 3 points
Convert: 2 points