X-Women and Axewomen battle it out in 33-33 tie

Photo credit Bryan Kennedy
Photo credit Bryan Kennedy

Antigonish, NS – In a battle of AUS women's rugby powerhouses on a sunny Sunday afternoon in front of over 300 fans, the U SPORTS No. 6 ranked STFX X-Women and the Acadia Axewomen played to a 33-33 tie.

The game was tied five times throughout the afternoon as no team lead more than seven points at any given point of time.

The X-Women opened the scoring in the game with a try seven minutes in from Camryn Kleynhans (Wellington, ON) as the X maul pushed across the try line. Katie Murphy (Millville, PE) converted for an early 7-0 lead.

Acadia stormed back on their next possession and Kenzie Cecchetto (Newport, NS) touched down two minutes later to get her squad on the board. Sara Grant (Melrose, NB) made good on the conversion to tie the game.

Grant then had a key scoring play of her own a couple minutes later as she broke in from center field on a long run, handed off to Juliette Matsukubo (Ottawa, ON) who was tackled just before the try line but was able to get it back to Grant who scored Acadia's second try of the game.

Veteran X-Women centre Katherine Culligan (Halifax, NS) tied it up 12-12 in the 28th minute as she scored an unconverted try after sustained pressure in the Acadia end.

The teams then exchanged tries late in the first half to knot the game at 19-19 at halftime. Akwaima Akpan (Halifax, NS) scored for X and Katya Dondi (Caledon, ON) for Acadia, with both tries converted.

The second half was a defensive battle as both squads battled for field possession and pressed to score.

It was Acadia who broke the tie in the 51st minute as Amanda Jardine scored (Greenwood, NS). Grant's third conversion of the afternoon made it a 26-19 advantage for the Axewomen.

STFX was close to scoring minutes later but turned the ball over just ahead of the try line. They got it back and Kendra McDonell (Ottawa, ON) scored STFX's fourth try of the game in the 59th minute. Murphy made good on the conversion to tie the game again.

In back and forth action, the next try went to the Axewomen in the 65th minute to Kaitlyn Jinda (Campbell River, BC). Grant's conversion gave them a 33-26 lead.

STFX battled back and Courtney Gotteselig (Vegreville, AB) touched down on the far side to score for X. With the tricky angle on the conversion attempt, Murphy made good on the kick and tied the game for the fifth time at 33 points apiece.

The game remained deadlocked at 33-33 until the final whistle. Jinda was named player of the game for the Axewomen while X-Women back row athlete Skye Koyote (Duncan, BC) received the same honour for her squad.

STFX remains in first place atop the AUS standings with a 3-0-1 record, while Acadia stays in third place at 1-2-1.

Both teams will be back in AUS action next Friday evening, October 6th. STFX will travel to Halifax to take on the Saint Mary's Huskies, while Acadia will host the UPEI Panthers. Both games start at 7:00 pm.


Recap courtesy Krista McKenna, STFX Athletics

X-Women Rugby student-athlete Julia Baniak and alumnus Tasha McKenzie address the crowd and
deliver the land acknowlegement prior to the game

ACA 12-21: 33
STFX 19-14: 33

1st HALF
STFX – Camryn Kleynhans try, 7th minute (Katie Murphy convert)
ACA – Kenzie Cecchetto try, 9th minute (Sara Grant convert)
ACA – Sara Grant try, 11th minute
STFX – Katherine Culliagn try, 28th minute
STFX – Akwaima Akpan try, 36th minute (Katie Murphy convert)
ACA – Katya Dondi try, 40th minute (Sara Grant convert) 

2nd HALF
ACA – Amanda Jardine try, 51st minute (Sara Grant convert)
STFX – Kendra McDonell try, 59th minute (Katie Murphy convert)
ACA – Kaitlyn Jinda try, 65th minute (Sara Grant convert)
STFX – Courtney Gottselig try, 73rd minute (Katie Murphy convert)

Players of the Game:
Acadia – Kaitlyn Jinda (Campbell River, BC)
STFX – Skye Koyote (Duncan, BC) 

Try: 5 points
Penalty goal: 3 points
Convert: 2 points