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Women’s rugby team drops to fourth in standings

THE MCGILL MARTLETS (3-2) handed the University of Ottawa’s women’s rugby team their third loss of the season on Oct. 7, when the Gees hosted the McGill Martlets at Matt Anthony Field. With the 15-7 loss, the Garnet and Grey drop to fourth place in the Quebec Student Sports Federation (RSEQ) with one more game to improve their record of 2-3 and clinch a spot in the playoffs.

The Martlets came out raring to go, as their forwards broke through the Gees’ defence for a breakaway try five minutes into the first half. They quickly added to their early lead by diving on a kick in the end zone for a second try, this time at the 11-minute mark. While the Martlets missed both converts, their 10 points went unanswered in the first half, and the visiting team entered the break with a comfortable lead.

“We struggled in the first 10 minutes. [McGill] was really sharp,” explained head coach Suzanne Chaulk. “We didn’t immediately see that momentum happening, so it was kind of like, ‘Oh, that’s not going to work.’”

In hopes of closing the gap, Chaulk called the team together at half time to point out areas where the Gees needed improvement.

“There were only two things I talked to them about—getting the ball from one pair of hands to another with better contact, and I asked them to support better, to be talking more,” said Chaulk. “I just reminded them of little things that they knew, but they just weren’t thinking of.”

The second half saw the Gee-Gees pick up their game. Although McGill managed to break down the field for another try 10 minutes into the second half, the Gees finally retaliated. After several minutes of considerable pressure in the Martlets’ goal area, a mass of Ottawa players managed to give third-year second row player Amel Hussain the support she needed to cross the goal line and put the home team on the board with a try. First-year fullback Jess Mainwood was successful on the convert, which brought the Gees within eight points of the Martlets, down 15-7—the final score of the game.

“We peaked at the right time,” said Hussain after the match. “I think we were really tired of getting our bums kicked and it was just time to turn it on.”

Although the Gees didn’t pull off the win, Chaulk was optimistic about her team’s play and excited about facing off against the Laval University Rouge et Or, the first place RSEQ team, for Ottawa’s final regular season game.

“Honestly, I think we have better forwards than [the Rouge et Or] do, and if we can win the battle up front, then we’ll have more of the ball,” said Chaulk. “But the ball that they have, they use very well … so we need everybody to play the same game they played tonight, but we need to finish.”

Laval University (5-0) will be hosting the Gees (2-3) in Quebec City on Oct. 15.

—Keeton Wilcock