By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s rugby team had their strong start to the season stopped short on Sept. 27 by the Calgary Dinos, losing 27-10 at Wallace Field in their second taste of Canada West action this season. The loss evens up the Vikes’ record at 1-1 and the Dinos’ win keeps them atop the standings undefeated at 3-0.
Vikes’ second year back Madeleine Graham and fifth-year prop Jaiden Parhar scored the only tries of the game for the Vikes in a game where they couldn’t get within reach of the Dinos in the second half.
The Dinos’ back row Natasha Loucks scored two tries and prop Tarin Arndt touched down a try of her own. Second-year fullback/wing Elysa Sandron added a try and a conversion in the victory.
“It was a great fight on both sides today,” said Vikes women’s rugby head coach Brittany Waters. “Their forwards were more dominant on set pieces throughout the game. Without a strong platform we had trouble getting on the front foot.”
The Vikes and Dinos exchanged tries in the first fifteen minutes to even the score 5-5 in the first half. The Vikes defence was constantly called into action in their own defensive half from the Dinos’ forward pressure, but the Vikes were up to the task.
The Dinos hassled the Vikes’s defence in the first half, using their size to power through the defence deep into Vikes’ territory. Their efforts were eventually rewarded before the whistle blew for half-time on a Dinos’ drive that ended in the corner of the end zone for a 10-5 lead entering half-time.
The Vikes weren’t able to see a lot of the ball from the minutes before the end of the first half to the starting stages of the second. The Dinos’ possession of the ball began to weigh down on the Vikes.
“We spent a majority of time on defence which didn’t allow our runners to get much of the ball,” added Waters.
The Dinos answered immediately off the restart to the second half from a beautifully weighted kick and chase from Sandron. After receiving the ball out wide, she kicked the ball down field and did well to chase down her effort, beat the Vikes’ defender and touch down the ball in the end zone to stretch the Dinos’ lead to 15-5.
The Dinos drove wide again to score their fourth try five minutes later, and the ensuing conversion would push their lead to 22-5 over the Vikes in the second half.
The Vikes pushed back after a spell of offensive scores for the Dinos. After being held up in the end zone, the Vikes drove back, spinning it out wide on the overlap for Graham to cut the Dinos’ lead to 22-10.
The quick-footed Dinos responded quickly with a winding 20-yard-run through the Vikes’ defense to restore the 17-point lead.
Another strong wide run from Graham for the Vikes found her inside the end zone again, but for the second time today a Vikes’ potential try was held up by the Dinos to keep the Vikes from scoring.
The Dinos would secure the victory 27-10 from a strong second half push after both teams went into the break with a tight scoreline.
After the match, both teams paid tribute to the late Jenny Vincent with all the spectators and both teams around the side stands. Vincent was instrumental to both the Vikes’ and Dinos’ rugby programs, having spent significant him helping shape their future into what they are today. A special plaque was awarded to the Dinos for winning today’s fixture between the two sides.
The Vikes look to rebound in a big contest against rivals the UBC Thunderbirds next Sunday, Oct. 4 at Wallace Field while the Dinos entertain the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Oct. 17 at home after a weekend off next week.
CAL: 10-17 : 27
UVIC: 5 – 5 : 10
Tries: Tarin Arndt, Natasha Loucks (2), Elysa Sandron, Darcy Dickinson
Conversions: Elysa Sandron
Cautions: DaLeaka Menin (yellow card)
Tries: Jaiden Parhar, Madeleine Graham