Ruggers play keep away on route to finals
BY JUSTIN KLEIN
If there was anything the Western Mustangs women's rugby team had to work on, it was their inability to pass the ball around effectively while holding a high level of intensity for the whole 80 minutes of play.
They solved both problems on Saturday, dominating Waterloo from the opening whistle and coming away with a 22-10 win in the Ontario University Athletics semifinal match-up.
"We really came together today and improved our play since our last meeting," said Mustang Tracey Allen. "Our problem has been getting intense at the beginning of the game and I think that we came out today really fired up."
Western seemed to be able to get the ball wherever they pleased and they always seemed to be on the brink of scoring. Whenever Waterloo was able to relieve the pressure for a moment, Western was quick to get the ball back.
This was obvious on the final play of the game when Western was able to stop Waterloo in their own red zone and effectively move the ball into their opponents end. This drive was composed of great passing by sisters Kelly and Ang Donovan and a great pass to Allen who drove her way to five points.
"My goal before the game was to score a try. I was lucky enough to get this really good pass from Kelly and I just wanted to get that ball down on the ground," Allen said.
Western's passing game was not the only dominating aspect of their game on this sunny Saturday afternoon. Western's no. 1 kicker, Andrea Hanney, led the team's defence into not allowing a single try. Hanney, the full back and point kicker on the team, made some smart decisions throughout the game which led the team to escaping unharmed from the Warrior offence. According to Wesch, Hanney's role on the team has become more cherished over time and this has been in part to her steady improvement.
"Andrea Hanney is a very valuable player," Wesch said. "She has developed a lot over the summer by playing on Ontario's under-23 provincial team and we are fortunate enough to have her. She has a great future in the game."
Although coming up short on the scoreboard, Waterloo head coach Eric Caesar was impressed by his team's play.
"Today we got a little unlucky," Caesar said. "It is our second year in the league and I am happy that a team composed of newer players were able to compete with such a high calibre team as Western."
Wesch said the team can't think too much of this victory or else they will come out flat next week in the final against Guelph, the winners of the other OUA semifinal match over McMaster.
"It will be hard mentally to come down from this emotional high, but we need to look forward and focus on the next game," Wesch said. "This game is history."
Western will host the Gryphons at 1 p.m. on Saturday.