Excalibur strike down Queen’s

Women’s rugby season ends with close loss to Trent in OUA quarterfinals Saturday

After a bumpy end to the regular season, the third-ranked women’s rugby team was looking to turn their fortunes in the playoffs, visiting Peterborough to take on the second-ranked Trent Excalibur. But, in a repeat of the Gaels’ season opener, Trent got the upper hand to win a tight 20-12 quarterfinal, sending Queen’s home early.

The match started on a strong note for the Gaels, who jumped to an early 12-3 lead thanks to tries from centre Julie Englehardt and centre Teddi Firmi and two conversions from fly half Emily Stern.

Although the Gaels seemed to have solved the offensive woes they were suffering at the tail end of the season, they couldn’t sort out their defensive difficulties as Trent racked up three tries in a row to slam the door on the Tricolour’s season.

Stern said it was disheartening to lose in the quarterfinals for the second straight year.

“Trent was definitely a team we could beat,” she said. “We were doing really well in the first half and we were up by a few points. … It’s pretty disappointing that we lost.”

Stern said the team never lived up to its promise this year

“It’s kind of frustrating for both the players and the coaches, because we had so many amazing players and we had moments where everything clicked and you could tell how good we could be,” she said. “I think we didn’t live up to our potential all the time, which is too bad.” Stern said there wasn’t any clear explanation for why the team didn’t find more success this year.

“I don’t really know why we couldn’t pull it together,” she said.

Stern said she’s optimistic the team will improve next season, though.

“We’re not losing that many graduating players,” she said. “Most of our team is pretty young, so we’ll have a whole other year to work together and we’re doing off-season training, and by working together more as a team, we’ll definitely come out stronger next year.”

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