A collection of sports articles from my time with the Concordian. Goes all the way back to 2007. Enjoy!
Stingers destroy Sherbrooke 92-0 in women’s rugby blowout
By Kelly Greig
October 4th, 2010
The only question heading into the women’s rugby game against Sherbrooke on Sunday was not will they win, but will they outscore last week’s beating on Bishop’s 65-0? The Stingers didn’t disappoint with a 92-0 rout of the Sherbrooke Vert et Or to remain undefeated.
“At one point I looked up at the scoreboard near the end of the game and thought it was 35-0,” said captain Claire Hortop, “but in the sun I couldn’t see the line. I guess at that point it was 85-0, not 35-0. I was shocked at the end when it was 92.”
Concordia was unstoppable from the opening whistle to the 80th minute. The Vert et Or’s tackling was extremely weak and it took at least two players to take one Stinger down. Often Concordia just ran right through Sherbrooke’s arms. “If you don’t tackle in rugby it’s kind of hard to stop us from scoring,” said head coach Graeme McGravie.
The Stingers used this game as an opportunity for their reserves to log some game experience. They also tried to take the opportunity to work on some of their set-plays, but often didn’t even get the chance. “We actually kept trying to get a five-metre scrum because we wanted to work on driving those five metres,” said Hortop before joking about sabotaging a scoring chance to work on a scrum instead.
Like clockwork, Concordia scored every ten-minute interval in the first half. Near the end of the game they had fine tuned the scoring to two-minute intervals. In total the Stingers scored an astounding 14 tries and 11 conversions.
Scorers were Emma Gaudet-Reichelson (three for the second time in as many weeks), Jackie Tittley (two and 22 points in kicks), Claire Hortop, Cara Stucky, Erika Hamilton, Patricia Lapierre, Katrina Cohen-Palacios, Mandie Aldridge, Laura Ng, Melissa Gagnon and Hughanna Gaw.
You can count the number of times the Vert et Or had possession in Stinger territory on one hand.
There were displays of Stinger strength all over the field. From the forwards to the backs it seemed like the only time Sherbrooke got a break was when Concordia messed up.
The last two weeks have been light for the Stingers, playing the weaker Bishops and Sherbrooke, but the true test of the team will come in the next two weeks. On Sunday they face the Laval Rouge et Or and exactly a week later they square off against the McGill Martlets.
If the team beats Laval this week they will be guaranteed a first-place finish. After debating every possible outcome and the affect it would have on the standings in the upcoming games, McGravie stating it simply as, “really we just want to go there and kick the crap out of them.”
The Stingers will play Laval on Sunday at PEPS Stadium in Quebec City at 1 p.m.
The perfect season: Women’s rugby remains undefeated
By Kelly Greig
October 19th, 2010
It was a win 16 years in the making. For the first time since 1994, Concordia’s women’s rugby team has gone undefeated in the regular season. They won their last match of the year against the McGill Martlets 30-20 on Sunday at McEwen Field.
In the grand scheme of things, this game didn’t really matter. The standings and the semi-final schedule was already determined for Concordia. What was at stake was bragging rights.
“Any time you play McGill it matters,” said head coach Graeme McGravie. “Let’s be honest here, Laval is the new rivalry, for sure, but when you go to Concordia it’s always McGill, when you go to McGill it’s always Concordia.”
In recent years, the Stingers have been living in the shadow of the Laval Rouge et Or. Last year they defeated their archrivals in a double-overtime thriller to go onto Nationals. Since then, they have been focused on proving why they deserve to be champions.
“We are undefeated. Every year it’s always Laval but this year was our year. We’re the team to beat,” said veteran forward Adara Borys, “Just because we’re the team to beat doesn’t mean you’re going to beat us.”
That’s exactly the point the Stingers made against the Martlets. Concordia’s forward pack has dominated all season. They showed their strength this game by bowling McGill over in rucks and mauls and leading directly to the Stingers’ first two trys. Borys scored the first in the corner off a scrum and, after pushing a ruck into the try zone, scrum half Jessie Lapointe touched the ball down.
The Stingers’ first half scoring was rounded out by third-year flyhalf Erika Hamilton who found a hole in the defence along the sidelines and dove into the corner.
Early in the second half Borys notched her second try of the day. “There aren’t many opportunities to score as a flanker and so when I see a hole I take it,” she said. Concordia’s leading scorer Jackie Tittley added 10 points to her 60-point season to give the Stingers the win.
Concordia truly dominated the league this year. They scored a whopping 198 points over the season, 59 more than second-placeLaval. On defence they only allowed 23 points against and have a plus/minus of 175.
The semi-final game will be played on home soil on Sunday at 3 p.m. against either McGill or Ottawa.
Women’s rugby squad headed to finals
By Kelly Greig
October 26th, 2010
The Concordia women’s rugby team secured a berth in the finals this Sunday with a 33-5 win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
This Friday night’s final against the Laval Rouge et Or will mark the Stingers’ fourth consecutive appearance in the final with a record of 3-1 including last year’s victory which sent them to nationals.
Sunday’s semifinal was the first hurdle towards the championships. The squad faced off against a gritty Ottawa side with a physically intimidating forward pack. “They’ve got a couple of beasts out there, for sure; the two props are heavy hitters. They’re solid and they’re fit, it’s not like they can only play for five to 10 minutes. They get around the field and they’re always there,” said head coach Graeme McGravie.
It only took two minutes after the opening kick for Concordia to score. Veteran forward Hughanna Gaw came out of a ruck with the ball and was tackled into the try zone to make the score 5-0.
It only took three more minutes to even the score. The Gee-Gees thundered down the field and winger Natasha Watcham-Roy beat the back line at the end to touch it down. That was the lone try for Ottawa as Concordia’s defence didn’t waiver for the rest of the game.
Sarah Scanlon pulled the Stingers ahead when she touched the ball down in a pileup on the try line. Jackie Tittley added the kick to make it 12-5.
The strength of Concordia’s game this year has come from the forwards. McGravie likens his strategy to that of the New York Giants: do one thing really well and depend on it. In every game this year the pack has dominated their opponents. But in the semifinal, they were challenged by Ottawa’s gritty forwards and decided to let the back line take on a bigger role.
“I think there was a bit of added responsibilities on the backs today,” said McGravie. “We talked at halftime about how our games have been mostly forward-dominated affairs, they’re not real happy about that because they don’t get the ball. We addressed that this week and I thought they played much better in the second half.”
“I’m not going to lie, a few times I was sort of nervous when the ball went out the backs,” said captain Claire Hortop, “I don’t know if it was their best game — at least defensive-wise they totally covered their bases. It’s just the odd time you come up from the ground and you just did something good and you look back and the ball is 20 metres behind you and you’re like “What happened?’”
Winger Jenna Giuliani scored on a solo run midway through the first half and inside centre Tittley added the conversion. Standout rookie Cara Stuckey made four consecutive tackles all while pushing Ottawa back.
The second half of the game began with the Stingers back on their heels. A passing miscue and bad hands almost saw the Gee-Gees take advantage of their own missed penalty kick. This near-try lit a fire under the Stingers who came back hitting hard.
Adara Borys punished a Gee-Gee when she got caught standing still with the ball in her hands and Jessie Lapointe bowled over her tackler on a kick return. The Stingers marched downfield and were rewarded with a try by outside centre Kim Whitty. “It was finally nice to get the ball and prove to not only the coaches [but] to the team [and] to the fans that we have backs that have good hands and that we can score trys in the backs when usually we score more in the forwards,” said Whitty.
By the time Ottawa’s best forward was injured and taken out, Concordia had the game in the bag. They added an insurance try by Jessica Beaudry and a kick by Tittley.
“She was on the field all of like 30 seconds and she scores the try,” joked McGravie after Beaudry’s last minute score.
That finished the scoring at 33-5 to advance the Stingers to the next round. They will face archrival Laval Rouge et Or on Friday night on home turf.
“It’s going to be tight, but I think we’re really hitting our stride,” said McGravie. “We’re looking forward to playing Laval. For some reason we still think we’re the underdog when we play them, but I’m relishing the challenge for sure.”
Concordia will take on Laval at home on Friday at 7 p.m. Entry is $5.
Rugby Weekend Sweep
By Kelly Greig
September 14th, 2010
It was a weekend sweep at home for both of Concordia’s rugby teams as the men defeated the Bishop’s Gaiters 27-4 and the women posted a come from behind 31-14 win against the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
On the women’s side the Gee-Gees came out strong and had the Stingers back on their heels early. They wasted no time punching through Concordia’s defence to gain a 7-0 lead.
The try lit a fire under the Stingers who responded minutes later when rookie Cara Stuckey found a hole in the Ottawa defence on the try line to put the Stingers on the board. The failed conversion attempt by captain Jackie Tittley left Concordia trailing 7-5.
It was all Concordia again as Mandie Aldridge evaded two Gee-Gees and Tittley made the kick to give the Stingers a 12-7 lead.
Ottawa fought back late in the first to take the lead 14-12 when Concordia’s back line found themselves flat footed and let the Gee-Gees in for an easy try.
After halftime, the forward pack was more focused and they repeatedly pushed Ottawa back at least 10 yards off line-outs. “It’s hard to see the people up front,” said head coach Graeme McGravie. “Sara Scanlon did really well, and Lea Leahy had a fantastic game.”
Near the end of the second half an Ottawa Gee-Gee was sin-binned (a penalty that warrants the player leaving the game for 10-minute period and leaving their team a player short). In such a tight game, having a one-player advantage left the door open for the Stingers and they made no mistake punishing the Gee-Gees for the penalty.
Stuckey beat her defender for a 20-yard solo run to put Concordia ahead once again and Tittley added the extra points to make it 19-14. Minutes later on a quick penalty Erika Hamilton offloaded to Tittley who found the tryzone clinched the game 31-14.
“That’s just a cruel way [for Ottawa] to lose, I thought they totally outplayed us. I don’t think we deserved to win at all, we didn’t do anything except in the last 10 minutes,” said McGravie.
“It was a sloppy win,” added Stuckey. “It feels good now that it is over and that we got the win in the end.”
A mere 10 minutes after the kick-off in the men’s game the Stingers had pulled ahead 14-0. Two quick trys by forwards Ted McGregor and Curtis McKinney and a conversion by Xavier Birot caught the Bishop’s Gaiters back on their heels and struggling to keep up.
“I think we went out so hard that we exhausted ourselves after the first 10 minutes,” said veteran eight-man David Biddle, “but I think it’s important that we got the lead early and didn’t give it up.”
Bishop’s cut the Stingers’ lead in half minutes later by pushing their entire forward pack and the ball into Concordia’s try zone.
The game started to get sloppy as tensions mounted. Both team’s back positions took penalties and were warned about dangerous play. “There were some stupid penalties that cost us dearly,” said head coach Clive Gibson. “At least two of which were for our mouths.”
Early in the second half captain McGregor found bobbed and weaved between defenders to make it to the corner of the try zone to increase the lead to 19-7. Soon after scoring, McGregor was sin-binned leaving the Stingers one man short. Playing at a disadvantage forced the team to step up their game. Fullback Jonathan Dextras-Romagnino frequently jumped into the back line play to lend a hand and forwards Biddle, Paul Bouet and Jimmy Bang tackled almost anything that moved.
Concordia ended the game with a try on the last play. Birot took advantage of a Bishop’s errant pass and pounced on the ball in the end zone. He added the kick to round out the scoring 24-7.
Both rugby teams have a tough week ahead at home. The women face Laval (1-0) at 7 p.m. and the men play McGill (1-0) at 9 p.m. Friday.
Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup safely at home
By Kelly Greig
September 14th, 2010
Jackie Tittley had an important mission on Wednesday night at Concordia stadium. The women’s rugby captain was responsible for keeping the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup safely in her grip, and out of McGill’s hands. “I have to keep it safe, it’s an important piece,” she joked as she cradled the glass trophy. “It’s under very high security.”
Tittley and the Concordia Stingers squeaked by the McGill Martlets 3-0 to bring home the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup for the second consecutive year.
The game is played in memory of Kelly-Anne Drummond, a member of the Stingers’ rugby squad who was murdered in 2004. Her boyfriend was found guilty of the murder in 2006. The friendly is played against McGill because Drummond loved the game and the cross-town rivalry.
“Kelly-Anne loved playing rugby, she loved being at Concordia, she loved the competition, she loved the feeling of winning,” said Doreen Haddad, Drummond’s mother. “Kelly-Anne was like all the girls on both squads that were here this evening. They were team players, spirited, she was the same way. I just want [the players] to know her, know what she was like.”
Drummond’s spirit of competition was certainly present as the game was a hard fought contest. Both squads were a mix of rookies, second-stringers and starters as the game had no bearing on conference standings, but was used as an opportunity for players to prove themselves.
The Stingers set the tone early, penetrating deep into McGill territory and testing the Martlet defence. Concordia was working like a well-oiled machine with scrum half Jessie Lapointe alternating between backs and forwards plays.
The Martlets were back on their heels when a punishing tackle on Concordia’s Ariane Beaulieu brought the game to a screeching halt. Beaulieu suffered a dislocated hip and was taken away by ambulance.
“I thought we had a great game up until Ariane got hurt,” said head coach Graeme McGravie. “For both teams, that just took the wind out of the sails, we both really struggled to get going after that.”
The second half was a grittier back-and-forth game. Both teams were struggling to generate a consistent offence and every ball was fought for with tooth and nail. Penalties plagued both squads as valuable territory was just given away.
However, there were strokes of brilliance in the second half. Fly half Erika Hamilton made up for a fumbled pass by weaving through the Martlets for a 15 yard run, Jessica Beaudry broke through tackles on a solo run and fullback Jenna Giuliani was near perfect in her kick returns.
“I personally don’t think we played a very good game as a squad but we had some really good individual efforts,” said Tittley post-game, citing the second half heroics.
With only seven minutes to play and the score still 0-0, Concordia had their chance. Back-to-back McGill penalties put Tittley in range for a penalty kick. From 37 yards out, she put the ball between the uprights to put the Stingers ahead by three. “Those kicks are routine kicks for me, I knew it was going in,” she said.
Despite a late onslaught by the Martlets, that’s how the score would remain. Their last-minute hopes were squandered by a missed penalty kick opportunity.
After the game, Haddad addressed both teams, telling them how much they all seemed to follow Kelly-Anne’s spirit towards rugby and encouraged them to continue playing with integrity.
Although there was no entry charge for the game, money raised at the entrance through a raffle and will be donated to Women Aware, aMontrealnon-profit organization for women and children facing domestic violence.
According to Haddad’s blog, over $1,500 was raised, a slight increase from last year’s tally.
Clash of the titans in women’s rugby
By Kelly Greig
September 20th, 2010
The rivalry was palpable at Loyola field on Friday night. The Concordia women’s rugby team was facing off against Laval Rouge et Or, the team they had defeated in last year’s finals to advance to nationals. History repeated itself as the Stingers won their league game 10-9 to remain undefeated.
From opening kickoff to the last whistle the game was highly charged. “The rivalry is getting worse,” remarked co-captain Claire Hortop. “It’s almost dangerous.” Players on both sides were scratching, raking, kneeing and punching their way through the game as reflected by the huge number of penalties. Concordia took a total of 20 penalties and Laval had 15.
Early in the first Laval opened the scoring on – what else – a penalty. Their kick put them ahead 3-0. Jackie Tittley would tie it up for Concordia minutes later in the exact same situation.
It was obvious that both teams were out to prove their dominance by the way they were tackling. Lea Leahy delivered a spin-o-rama hit on a Rouge et Or back, Hughanna Gaw punished the flankers who tried to take her down off scrums and Sara Scanlon tackled any Laval player who even thought of touching the ball.
Fullback Jenna Giuliani showed her speed by coming into the backline at key moments to gain some valuable yardage. Unfortunately for the Stingers, it seemed like they were taking one step forward, two steps back, as much of the ground they gained was negated by penalties. This led to Laval regaining their lead with a penalty kick to make it 6-3.
Giuliani almost pulled the Stingers ahead on a solo run early in the second half but at the last second,Laval’s fullback got a hand on her jersey and hauled her down. Instead of Concordia getting more points on the board, Laval’s kicker countered with a 33-yard penalty kick to widen the lead to 9-3.
It was clear that Concordia was driven by desperation and intensity in the last 10 minutes. They kept constant pressure on the Rouge et Or and tried to force the ball over the line at least five times. Every time Laval managed to hang on by holding the ball up in the try zone. “If you give us enough opportunities, we will make it happen,” said head coach Graeme McGravie.
Lisa Hoffman made it happen when she punched the ball over the line and down onto the field in the corner. Concordia scored, but was still behind. It was down to Tittley to make the kick to put the Stingers ahead by one. On a bad angle from 22 yards out, she hit the mark and Concordia was up 10-9.
Laval put the pressure on late in vain. Concordia’s defence was too driven to let the lead slip away and with some amazing tackles by Giuliani the Stingers held on to win.
“It’s such an ego boost,” said a smiling Tittley. “It is reassurance that we are a good team and we can compete with the best.”
The Stingers will try to continue their undefeated streak Sept. 24 against Bishop’s at 8 p.m.
Men’s rugby team suffers loss and injuries against powerhouse McGill
By Kelly Greig
September 21st, 2010
The Concordia men’s rugby team were delivered their first loss of the season on Friday night 18-6 at the hands of last year’s champions, the McGill Redmen.
Despite the score, it was the best effort that the men’s side had put together against their biggest rival in years. “McGill is always a rival, we’re both from Montre also we hate each other, of course it’s going to be a big game,” said head coach Clive Gibson.
Concordia started out strong and marched deep into McGill territory. The Stingers won almost every ruck and Daniel Thomassin and Matt Held were often the first to jump in to keep possession. It was clear that the team had learned from their last game against Bishop’s, as instead of trying to pick up loose balls, they dove on them to ensure they maintained possession it. “We played a lot better than last week,” said Gibson, “even though we won last week and lost tonight, it was an improvement.”
Big hits were being thrown on both sides and every ball in lineouts and rucks was fought for.
The Stingers were first on the board as Xavier Birot completed a 40-yard penalty kick to make it 3-0.
McGill returned the favour soon after with a 32-yard boot to tie it up.
As the game progressed, the contact got more and more rough. Eventually both teams were warned by the referee, but penalties were racked up on both sides. “When you have a ball in hand that you fought for hard you don’t want to just give it away,” said Gibson. Eventually the referee started handing out sin bins, Concordia suffering four and McGill taking one. If this wasn’t bad enough, starters like Jonathan Dextras-Romagnino, Thomassin and David Biddle left the game with injuries.
“As the captain it’s tough not to freak out” with penalties and injuries, said newly appointed captain Curtis McKinney. “It’s always been McGill and we knew we couldn’t be counted out of this competition.”
It wasn’t long before McGill took advantage of Concordia’s reduced numbers to score. McGill’s eight-man picked the ball off the scrum and broke through the back line right in front of the uprights. Brendan O’Sullivan widened the lead for the Redman with the conversion to make it 10-3.
The Stingers would add another penalty kick by Dario Pellizzari, but McGill put the nails in the coffin with a try and two kicks.
The men play against Sherbrooke at home on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m.
Concordia’s mens and womens rugby teams shut out the competition
By Kelly Greig
September 28th, 2010
The Concordia men’s rugby team flaunted their dominance by thrashing the Sherboorke Vert et Or 32-0 on Friday night.
It was an opportunity for many of the veterans to rest and for the young guns to get some action and prove themselves. “In our forward pack we had five reserves with some key guys out like David Biddle, Ted McGregor and Curtis McKinney but the boys really stepped up tonight,” said coach Shane Thomas. “We had a lot of key players missing and so we had some guys step up who wanted to prove something to themselves and to the coaches,” said interm captain Jimmy Bang.
Right off the bat the Stingers were on the board with a penalty kick by Xavier Birot. Concordia kept the pressure on with crushing hits by Adriano D’Angelo and Sean McDonough-Fraser. “That was the biggest hit I’ve seen in Quebec Rugby, I’m surprised the other guy got up,” said Thomas about McDonough-Fraser’s punishing tackle. Birot took a big hit fromSherbrooke, but landed in the try zone to make it 8-0.
The first half was marked by numerous penalties by Sherbrooke that strengthened the Stingers already strong field position. When David Walsh-Pickering stole a Sherbrooke line-out Bang used the opportunity to beat his man one-on-one and touch it down for a try. Birot made the conversion from 25 yards out to increase the lead to 15-0.
Bad kicking and strategy decisions plagued the Stingers as Sherbrooke pushed back. Concordia was deep in their own territory with Paul Bouet snagged a line-out that slipped through the fingers of two Vert et Or players and Jeremy Chung Lim broke the back line to run 15 yards.
Bouet shone again when he scored on an eight-man pick up off a stolen Sherbrooke scrum. Birot hit the mark to widen the gap 20-0.
Although the Stingers had a dominating lead, their play at times did look messy and uncoordinated. “(The connection between forwards and backs) is not something we’ve quite got down in practice to the point that we want to execute it during the game,” said Bang, “I think a lot of it was ad-libbed and kind of off the fly so it did look messy at times.”
The whistle for halftime signalled the beginning of a downpour. Rain can often change the dynamic of a game; the ball is slippery and harder to catch and often the majority of the play stays within the forwards.
Sherbrooke was looking desperate when they attempted a whopping 42-yard penalty kick to open the second half. The rain was a great equalizer; both teams were struggling with passing and rucking as the conditions became worse.
Concordia powered through the weather to make it to the Sherbrooke try line. The Vert et Or mounted their best defence of the game and repelled the Stinger onslaught at least seven times. Concordia was trying everything they could think of, forwards, backs, blindside plays, attempting to push mauls, forcing line-out and scrums but to no avail.
When it seemed the tide had turned Concordia’s Gavin Drohan found a hole in the defence to score and take the wind out of Sherbrooke’s sails. Birot’s conversion attempt hit the upright and bounced wide.
The Stingers would seal the deal in the last five minutes of play when Theodore Meltzer-Gardner and the forward pack pushed the ball into the corner of the try zone to make it 32-0. Meltzer-Gardner came onto the field in the last two minutes to wow the crowd with his try. “Our defense tonight was spectacular, we didn’t concede a point,” said Thomas, “but we still have a long way to go if we want to win the championship.”
The men move on to face the tough and drunken crowds and the not so tough Bishop’s Gaiters in Lennoxville on Oct. 1 at 8 p.m.
Offense no problem for women’s rugby
The Concordia women’s rugby team clobbered the Bishop’s Gaiters 65-0 on Friday night in Lennoxville. They remain undefeated this season with only three games left to play.
Emma Gaudet-Reichelson scored three trys in the shutout with help from Jackie Tittley (one try, five conversions), Jessie Lapointe (two trys), Solange De Blois (one try), Adara Borys (one try), Cara Stuckey (one try), Jenna Giuliani (one try) and Taryn Gauley (one try).
The scoring frenzy was on and off, explained head coach Graeme McGravie. “The score flattered us. The first half was a lot harder than the score indicated,” he said, “We scored pretty quick and then we didn’t again for another 15-20 minutes, but we did a lot better in the second half.”
It was another opportunity to get some new faces out onto the field, and to re-visit some of the veterans. “Adara (Borys) was our player of the game, she really stepped up and this is a player who hasn’t played in three weeks.”
This impressive victory over Bishop’s only serves to show exactly how strong the Stingers squad is.
Concordia will have another easy week ahead of them as Sherbrooke comes to visit on Sunday at 1 p.m. Then it will be the team’s true test as they face archrivals Laval and McGill in the following weeks to round out the season in the quest for the championships.
Stingers secure second
By Kelly Greig
October 13th, 2009
Concordia’s women’s rugby team extended their winning streak to three with a victory over the McGill Martlets 15-0 on Thursday night. The victory secured Concordia’s possession of second place while the Martlets drop down to third in the league.
It was clear to see from the opening minutes how powerful Concordia’s forwards were. McGill attempted to use a synchronized push against the Stingers but hit a brick wall. The Stinger pack was visibly stronger than their Martlet counterparts and controlled the scrums and mauls. The Stingers slid McGill’s forwards across the wet grass in mauls and dragged them along for the ride when McGill tried to tackle.
The Stingers set the tone when eight-man Hughanna Gaw clobbered a hapless Martlet off a line out and captain Claire Hortop body slammed McGill’s fullback to the grass early in the game. It wasn’t long before Concordia was threatening to score and McGill was scrambling to co-ordinate their defence.
The Stingers were handed their first try courtesy of a McGill mistake. A Martlet flanker jumped the gun on a scrum on the five-yard line and bore down on scrumhalf Robin Hunter. This costly slip resulted in a penalty try and a McGill sin-bin, a ten-minute penalty that leaves the team one player short. Jackie Tittley made the resulting kick and the Stingers were up 7-0.
Within two minutes, the Stingers took advantage of McGill’s reduced line-up to score. Former Martlet Laura Belvedere left her old team in the dust as she outran the backs to score in the corner.
In the second half, Concordia’s biggest challenge was themselves. They committed nine penalties and had two sin-bins. The weakened team had to stand up to repeated McGill blitzes and compensate for their missing players.
McGill’s speedy backs tried in vain to use their offensive overlap to beat the Stingers on the edge of the field. Concordia always managed to shift their backs or to come up with a big tackle to slow the charge.
“We have the ability to recognize when we’re falling,” said forward Adara Borys, “we take that and we regroup and push it back in their face, that’s one of our strongest qualities.”
Concordia’s Vanessa Grillo took on the responsibility of tackling anybody wearing red and white. Fan favourite Erika Hamilton booted the ball downfield to relieve the pressure and the give the Stingers a breather.
Concordia managed to get enough field position to attempt a penalty kick. Tittley put the final nail in the coffin with a 40-yard kick to up the score to 15-0.
The women’s next match-up is against the Ottawa Gee-Gees in our nation’s capital Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Stingers stand up to Redmen, but still lose
By Kelly Greig
October 20th, 2009
It was the battle of the best at Loyola Field on Sunday, as number one McGill faced off against second seated Concordia in men’s rugby. The outcome reflected the standings as McGill won 41-13 and swept the Stingers in league play for the second straight year.
What wasn’t shown on the scoreboard was the Stingers’ vast improvement from their last meeting with their cross-town rivals. This game was the best cohesive effort that the team has displayed so far. All the elements were there, but the Stingers couldn’t manage to get it together and keep it together quite like McGill.
McGill didn’t waste any time putting the heat on. The slow starting Stingers were trampled by the Redmen’s speed and ability to wiggle their way out of tackles. Within fifteen minutes the Redman had already notched fourteen points.
“They’re far too strong for us to let them have tries that are not hard earned,” said head coach Clive Gibson about McGill’s initial onslaught.
The pressure continued throughout most of the first half but the Stingers managed to counterattack. Xavier Birot recovered a blocked kick and drew a penalty on one play to the enthusiastic approval of the fans. This play resulted in a spectacular mid-air tackle by James Acker while contending for a drop kick. The Stingers were gaining ground but couldn’t seem to finish. After having two try attempts held up, the Stingers finally managed to punch one through. Captain Ted McGregor flaunted his return from the injured list with his second try of the season. Birot added the extra points and the Stingers trailed by seven.
The Redmen didn’t take kindly to being scored on and punished Concordia for the seven points by adding five to their own lead thirty seconds later.
Concordia tried in vain to repay the favour. It was a forward’s game for Concordia, they kept the ball in their ranks and let the backs enjoy the sunshine. Repeated picks and trailers were stopped in their tracks by McGill’s textbook tackles. Just when it seemed the defence would break, the buzzer sounded to end the first half.
The first thing Concordia did after halftime was hand McGill points via a penalty kick. Birot offset the difference with a penalty kick of his own at the other end of the field to increase the Stingers’ score to ten.
Concordia began to fall apart defensively and all the Redmen had to do was capitalize on the holes in the line. The quality of tackling and intensity diminished considerably in the early second and McGill was always threatening to score. At one point, Jonathan Dextras-Romagnino covered three Redmen by himself with no help in sight.
The Stingers did generate some offence courtesy of McGill’s frustration over a penalty and losing a player to the sin-bin. The frustration was palpable and the two teams nearly erupted into a brawl after a whistle.
Back Paul Bouet stood out in the second half due to his determination to be first on the ball. Marc Roche literally pushed a McGill forward out of the try zone before he could touch the ball down. Forward Matthew Kerr was dominating force in the rucks and helped keep Concordia’s focus on the fundamentals.
The Stingers caught some lucky breaks in the second that allowed the score to stay within reach until the last ten minutes. The ball slip out of McGill’s Mike Davis’ hands while he was trying to touch it down to score. Birot promptly jumped on the ball and kicked it away to put Concordia into McGill territory. The ensuing play resulted in a penalty kick and rounded the Stingers scoring out at 13.
In the dying minutes, McGill would go on to score twice on solo runs. “We lost it in the last twenty minutes,” said McGregor. “They took advantage of our fatigue.”
Redman Kevin Buckley completed a hat trick on the last play of the game to boost the score to 41-13.
The Stingers travel to Lennoxville to faceBishopsUniversityfor their final regular season game on Friday at 7 p.m.
Two Wins for Stingers at Bishops
By Kelly Greig
September 15th, 2009
Concordia’s rugby teams swept their home-opening weekend against Bishop’s with a 61-0 beating by the women and a 17-15 nail-biter courtesy of the men.
After going 0-7 last season, this year’s men’s club had a lot to prove and within two minutes Concordia had enough field position to secure a penalty kick making it 3-0.
Once Bishop scored, the men rallied back to make it 10-7 but from this point on the Stingers’ resolve disintegrated. Bishops took full advantage of the lack of effort to completely dominate. The only time Concordia touched the ball was on penalties. The onslaught took its toll when the Gaiters pushed a maul 20 yards into the try zone, to lead 12-10.
Bishops’ completed a penalty kick with three minutes left in the game to increase their score to 15-10.
Spurred by last minute desperation and a roaring crowd, the Stingers fought their way back up field. Just when it seemed that Bishops’ would be saved by the buzzer, Sean McDonough-Fraser managed to dive into the try zone. This levelled the score at 15-15 and so the burden fell onto kicker D’Angelo to kick for the win. He calmly put the ball between the uprights to secure the victory.
The question leading into the women’s game was not will they beat Bishop’s, but how badly?
It only took ten minutes for Concordia to strike, as Laura Belvedere intercepted a Bishop’s pass and waltzed her way into the try zone.
Two minutes later Concordia scored again, this time it was by winger Mandie Aldridge, off a floating pass from fullback Jennifer Rosenbaum.
The forwards began to make their presence felt as they carried the Stingers up field by passing while being tackled. This allowed fly-half Erika Hamilton time to coordinate a play, allowing Rosenbaum to sneak into the try zone.
Near the end of the half Belvedere increased the lead again 26-0.
After half the Stingers picked up the where they left off. Prop Vanessa Grillo scored with the support of the entire pack to make it 40-0.
Contrary to the scoreboard, Concordia’s spectacular play wasn’t limited to just scoring. Sarah Nesbitt dragged three Gaiters fifteen yards before being tackled and scrum-half Julie Vaillancourt manipulated the gaps in the defence off scrums. A pile-up on the try-line allowed Grillo to punch her second try.
As if that weren’t enough, in the last two minutes of play Belvedere added her fourth try of the game despite being held back by two Gaiters. Jackie Tittley chipped in eight points on kicks to round out the score 61-0.
“This is the most talented team bar none that I’ve played against and played for,” commented Belvedere, “we play some really great teams this year but hopefully we can play like we did tonight.”
Belvedere’s hopes will be put to the test this upcoming Sunday as the Stinger men and women visit Sherbrooke.
Down-to-the Wire Win
By Kelly Greig
September 22nd, 2009
For the second game in a row, last-minute heroics saved the day for Concordia’s men’s rugby team. A try with 60 seconds left proved to be the decider, as the Stingers clawed their way back from an injury and penalty plagued game to defeat the Sherbrooke Vert et Or 12-7.
“My feeling is that it [the victory] wasn’t worth it,” said head coach Clive Gibson, “we didn’t stick to the game plan at all and it cost us three players for the season.” Paul Bouet was taken to hospital via ambulance after sustaining a neck injury. Joining him was captain Ted McGregor who sought medical attention for his collarbone or neck. Philippe Walkden left the field with a broken wrist and a shoulder injury respectively.
The Stingers had to improvise with a patchwork of subs and starters playing in unfamiliar positions. Gibson warned, “there is lots of depth in our team but at the rate we’re losing them I don’t know how much more depth we’ll have in a couple of weeks.” He mentioned that this could be an opportunity for second-stringers to prove themselves. “There will be a lot of hard work this week, people will have to step up and take their place,” he said.
Despite the injuries, the Stingers managed to score twice in the last five minutes. Earlier in the second half, the Vert et Or scored after Concordia failed to connect on tackles and had all but fallen apart defensively.
The Stinger strike began when eight-man David Biddle picked the ball from a scrum and body slammed the Vert et Or player who tried to tackle him. He offloaded to Xavier Birot who evaded numerous tackles as he ran 50 yards to the try zone. Flyhalf Conor O’Hara added the kick to even it up at seven.
The try encouraged the Stingers, who began to play like they should have the entire game. The team was a cohesive unit and seamlessly exchanged the ball between the pack and the backs. O’Hara broke free but was tied up by the Vert et Or’s last line of defence. While keeping the flyhalf’s hands full, O’Hara passed to undefended Jonathan Dextras-Romanigno, who scored.
“The last few minutes are what seem to count for us,” commented Dextras-Romanigno. He chalked up the win to the Stinger’s physical superiority. “We don’t stop and we don’t give up. We run fitness 4-5 times a week and it shows in the last minutes,” he said.
With one minute left to play, Concordia had to maintain composure and keep their heads in the game. “All we were saying after the try is it’s not over. Just because we can score doesn’t mean they can’t,” said Dextras-Romanigno. The entire squad knew how costly one slip-up could be. Biddle joked that, “after the second try all we had to do was not screw up.”
Sherbrooke came close, but not close enough and Concordia was saved by the buzzer.
They up their record to 2-0, but have yet to face first-place McGill. “We need to play a lot better because McGill is a better team than Bishops andSherbrooke are,” admits Biddle.
The Stingers will have home-field advantage as they playSherbrookeagain on Friday night at 8:30.
Stingers Deliver a Beating
By Kelly Greig
September 22nd, 2009
Concordia’s women’s rugby squad asserted their dominance on Sunday with a decisive 76-0 victory over the Sherbrooke Vert et Or.
The score didn’t reflect the Stinger’s performance in the first half, however. Countless dropped balls and seven penalties would have cost Concordia against a stronger team.
“Against Laval or McGill these slip-ups would be punished but we got away with it here,” said head coach Graeme McGravie.
Concordia’s backs did manage to get their hands on the ball five minutes in for a play that led to a try by last week’s Stinger athlete of the week Laura Belvedere.
Only two minutes later, centre Jackie Tittley left the Vert et Or in the dust when she scored between the posts. She added the kick to her own try and increased the lead to 12-0.
Sherbrooke’s shoddy tackling let the Stingers repeatedly pass while being tackled. Concordia’s pack used this to set up Lea Leahy between the uprights for a try. Tittley added the kick to make it 19-0.
Sherbrooke’s lack of defence allowed Concordia’s backs to practice some of their more intricate plays. It also allowed fullback Jennifer Rosenbaum to join the line. This led to the Stinger’s next try when Rosenbaum exploited to the overlap and drew in the Sherbrooke fullback. A simple pass to Tittley and the score was 26-0.
Rosenbaum also set up the Stingers’ next try when she started a sequence of inside passing and then chipped the ball over the defenders’ heads. Captain Claire Hortop pounced on it and scored in the corner.
With two minutes left in the half, Belvedere added another try. She currently leads the Stinger’s scorers with seven tries in two games.
The Stingers were so powerful that they actually had to diminish their intensity to be able to play.
“When you’re playing a team that’s kind of at a lower level it isn’t easier.” said Hortop. “We couldn’t work on our mauls because there was nothing to push against. In the scrums we had to hold back, otherwise we would just push them over and the referee would call a penalty on us.”
In the second half the Stingers stepped up and played to their potential. McGravie began to use substitutes and the team benefited from fresh legs. “It’s good to know that some people can make a difference that we didn’t know about,” said McGravie.
Rookie eight-man Hughanna Gaw was the first to score in the second half. She emerged from a pile-up on the try line facing the wrong way but with the ball touched down in the try zone.
Under pressure the Vert et Or resorted to kicking the ball out of bounds. Unfortunately for Sherbrooke, the line-drive kick went straight into the arms of prop Vanessa Grillo. A short pass to wide open Ali Olshefsky and another try ensued.
This began a scoring blitz where Gaw and Rosenbaum each score within three minutes.
Concordia’s talent and fitness shone in the second half as they were playing a completely different calibre of rugby. Hortop was easily able to straight arm four defenders and stay on her feet to set up Gaw’s third try of the day.
Kim Whitty rounded out the afternoon’s scoring with support from Olshefsky and Sarah Scanlon. Tittely completed the kick to add the last two points to her 17-point game and earn this week’s athlete of the week.
This is Concordia’s second big win in as many weeks but the stiffest competition is yet to come. Both McGill and Laval are not going to be pushovers and the Stingers will have to be able to match their level of rugby.
The Stingers will get some more practice against the Vert et Or again on Friday night at 6:30 at Loyola Field.
Men’s rugby team remains undefeated
By Kelly Greig
September 29th, 2009
Concordia’s men’s rugby team prevailed 29-10 over the Sherbrooke Vert et Or on Friday night to bring their record to 3-0.
Sherbrooke started their game sluggish and slow and Concordia did not hesitate to capitalize on their poor offensive co-ordination to steal the ball away. Grady Galloway blocked a Vert et Or kick which was then scooped up by Jonathan Dextras-Romagnino. He dodged four Sherbrooke players and ran 30 yards to score. Xavier Birot added the conversion to pull ahead 7-0.
Birot added three points on a penalty kick from 18 yards out, mid-way through the first half.
The injury-plagued Stingers suffered another massive blow to their roster. Jeremy Chung Lim suffered a serious head injury after a Sherbrooke player swung him around on a tackle which resulted in a knee to the temple. He was taken away by ambulance and the offending player was immediately expelled from the match.
According to head coach Clive Gibson, Chung Lim broke his left temporal bone in his skull and had to undergo surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. His condition is improving rapidly but of the Stingers do not expect him to return this season.
Eight-man David Biddle explained the Stingers mindset after the incident. “Composure was the key in that game and when something like that happens it’s hard to get guys to focus on the game and not on retaliation,” said the stand-in captain for the injured Ted McGregor.
This strategy clearly did not work as the game seemed constantly on the verge of a brawl. There were three incidents where Sherbrooke and Concordia players exchanged a few words and shoves behind the play and behind the back of the referee.
After a brutal hit on Birot, Sherbrooke’s Martin Gautier was sin-binned and had to sit-out for ten minutes. This left the Vert et Or at a massive disadvantage sine they would be playing two players short. It didn’t take long for Concordia to capitalize. David Biddle scored his first try as a Stinger after a Sherbrooke penalty to widen the lead to 15-0.
When Sherbrooke started to pick up their game in the second half, Concordia was the team who looked like they were two men short. Back talk to the referee earned them two extra penalties on an initial high tackle, costing them a total of 30 yards. This allowed the Vert et Or enough field position to kick for points and put them on the board 15-3.
Concordia did not play to their potential in the second half, despite what the numbers up on the scoreboard said.
Their passes were falling short and almost every line-out was thrown crooked. Jumper Marc Roche did manage to steal a key Sherbrooke line-out which led to Biddle adding another try between the posts. Birot added the extra points.
Biddle would go on to set up the next try. He scooped up the ball off a scrum and took it blindside where he created a two on one with scrum-half Alec Montealegre. Montealegre then spun around the defender to score. Birot made the conversion and Concordia pulled ahead 29-3.
The Stinger’s once again lost their cool and took excessive penalties. This forced them back into their own end and the Vert et Or took advantage of the momentum.Sherbrooke rounded out the scoring with a try on the blindside that fooled the Stinger line and sinker to make it 29-8. Even with the final Vert et Or effort, the Stingers had locked up the game.
The Stingers face undefeated McGill on Sunday at 1 p.m. at McGill’s Molson Stadium.
Concordia robbed of rugby title
By Kelly Greig
October 28th, 2008
The Concordia Stingers women’s rugby team left their blood, sweat and tears on the field in the Quebec conference final but ultimately that’s not where the game was decided.
“We’re just disappointed, if you lose you want to lose on the field, not lose by a piece of paper,” said head coach Graeme McGravie.
It was a disappointing finish for the Lady Stingers, not simply because they lost, but because they were robbed of their chance to go to Nationals.
After the full 80 minutes of play in the QSSF finals, Laval and Concordia were tied 20-20. This was an impressive feat in itself for the Stingers, as the undefeated Rouge et Or team had only 33 points scored against them all season (23 from Concordia and 10 from McGill).
After regular play, the two teams entered sudden-death overtime. Two 10 minute periods passed with Laval coming extremely close to winning. Concordia took a penalty right in front of their goal posts, leaving Laval with an easy kick 10 yards away from the end zone. Fortunately, the Laval kicker choked and Concordia was still alive.
After a deadlocked overtime, normally the teams would select a kicker and continue into a kick-off. A kick off is extremely similar to a shoot out in hockey. Both kickers try to score a field goal from and the first to miss when the other succeeds is deemed the winner.
This is where the situation gets sticky.
Captain Melanie Tranchemontagne and head coach Graeme McGravie were both called to centrefield along with the Laval captain and coach to be informed that because of a new rule from the QSSF, Laval had won the game.
Rule D.9.2. reads as follows: “Should a tie exist at the conclusion of full time play, two 10-minute sudden death overtime periods will be played. If still tied, the tiebreaking procedures below will be used.
A)The team scoring the higher number of tries shall be deemed the winner.”
Because Laval had reached 20 by scoring three trys and Concordia had achieved that score by two trys and a combination of kicks, Laval won the game.
“I’m really just shell-shocked,” said McGravie on the team bus back from Quebec City, “I’m at a loss of words.”
The teams season is now over and their chance to compete at Nationals in Lethbridge, Alberta stolen by the Rouge et Or.
The game didn’t really pick up for the Stingers until the second half. Feeling the pressure of a 15-3 lead built by the Rouge et Or in the opening frame, the Stingers started turning on the heat. “It was another game where we came out on all cylinders in the second half. We just dominated them,” said McGravie.
Tries by Lisa Hoffman and Vanessa Gillo on a series of rucks on the try line gave Concordia the lead with 15 minutes left.
Laval quickly regained control of the game by scoring another try. With no time left on the clock and a penalty against Laval, it came down to Jackie Tittley. The rookie kicker needed to put the ball through the uprights from 35 yards out to tie the game. And that’s exactly what she did. McGravie credited her with “saving the game for us when we needed it the most.”
In the overtime periods the Stingers played as if it were their last game. “How they got energy was beyond me, they went into overtime looking like they hadn’t played the first two halves at all,” said McGravie.
He credits his squad with playing as one. “I can’t really say that one person did more than the next person, it was that good of a team effort,” he said.
It was a defensive effort for the Stingers as the Rouge et Or threatened to score over and over again.
They came through with their hopes riding on Tittley’s kicking ability- but instead were left disappointed by the QSSF.
The lady Stingers finish their season 5-3 with what McGravie calls “one of the best rugby games I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
Stingers to face undefeated McGill
By Kelly Greig
October 28th, 2008
The Concordia men’s rugby team dropped their last home game to the Bishop’s Gaiters 24-20 Sunday afternoon.
It was the closest the team has come to a win this season. Now saddled with a disappointing 0-6 record, winning will be an even tougher goal next week when the Stingers face the undefeated McGill Redmen.
“They’re a better team than what the record shows, but the record still stands at 0-6,” commented head coach Clive Gibson.
The failure to win hasn’t been for a lack of opportunity. With the notable exception of McGill, the biggest point spread between Concordia and the victors has been five points.
“We’re 0-6, but we could have just as easily been 3-3 or 4-2. We just have shitty breaks and lose focus for five to 10 minutes every game, that costs us a lot of points,” said fullback Courtney Bishop.
Case in point: Sunday’s game against Bishop’s.
The game started out shaky for the Stingers. They managed to get enough field position for fullback Bishop to put the ball through the uprights for three points.
The Gaiters forwards started to throw their weight around and eventually broke through the smaller Stinger defensive lines into the end zone.
The Gaiters punished Concordia for every mistake. Frustration was obvious when forward Fares Robanna was penalized for almost starting a fight with an opponent. Dropped balls, poor scrums and stolen lineouts cost Concordia as the Gaiters added another try.
It seemed like Bishops weren’t even using their back line when they widened their lead once again to 17-3. Gaiter forwards simply overpowered the Stingers and marched them backwards into their end zone.
“It’s a game of going forward and when you’re moving backward off every set piece, it’s hard to kick-start,” said Gibson.
A whole new Stinger squad hit the field in the second half.
“The last half we’ve played was phenomenal rugby,” Gibson said.
“It doesn’t mean anything in the score books, but we beat Bishop’s in the second half.”
The Stingers mounted their comeback early when fly half Ryan Leenhouts was pushed into the end zone by a pack of forwards. Bishop added the convert to make the score 17-10.
A sloppy mistake cost the Gaiters three points, as a late hit on a drop kick let Bishop put another easy kick through the uprights.
The Stingers stepped up their game when they saw the win within reach. Outside centre Jonathan Francois was outstanding in his passion and his tactical play. It seemed like he was all over the field and always in the right place at the right time. “Francois was phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. He was in a class by himself today there is no question about it,” said Gibson.
Flanker Julien Bruneau kept the ball in Concordia hands through exceptional rucking, allowing centre Jonathan Dextras space to weave his way through flat-footed Gaiters for 35 yards. The back line started making passes as they were getting hit to keep the play alive and in Bishop’s territory.
It wasn’t long before Leenhouts found a hole in the Gaiters defence to give the Stingers the lead 20-17.
With 20 minutes until the final whistle, the game’s mental aspect kicked in as Concordia tried to defend their lead without losing their heads.
Bishop’s pushed back hard into Concordia territory and forced a try-line defensive stand. The Stingers fought valiantly, but after a three minute Gaiter assault finally ceded the try to end the game 24-20.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t end with a win because we deserved it,” said Gibson after the hard fought game. “This is the best rugby we’ve played all season.”
The Stingers play against McGill on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Molson Stadium in the first round of the playoffs.
Stingers fall to Martlets
By Kelly Greig
September 9th, 2008
The Concordia Stingers women’s rugby team saw the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup slip out of their hands on Sunday as the McGill Martlets scored on a last-minute play to win 14-10.
This is the fourth consecutive year the Martlets have won the cup named after the late Stinger, who was killed by her boyfriend.
“If you were ever down she would always pick you up, she was a genuinely good person,” recalled Concordia scrumhalf Mel Tranchemontagne with a wavering voice. Tranchemontagne is the last player on the team to have played with Drummond. As a tribute to the prop player, the Stingers have ceased to wear Drummond’s number three. This is Tranchemontagne’s last year as a Stinger and she lamented losing the cup for the fourth consecutive year at the hands of the Martlets. “It’s my last year, and I just wanted to win it this year. We were so close.”
The game began with Concordia on their heels as McGill backs played quick defence pressuring the Stingers and forcing awkward passes. The majority of the first half was played in Concordia’s end, but the Martlets were unable to come up with a try. With less than eight minutes left, Stinger fullback Jenny Rosenbaum chipped and caught the ball over McGill’s heads to set up a try scored by Kim Whitty. Jackie Tittley then made good on the kick to put the Stingers up 7-0 going into halftime.
McGill came back from halftime looking for a quick try and succeeded by slipping through a flat-footed Concordia defence to even the game. Concordia responded by marching the Martlets back down the field, only to suffer from repeatedly dropped balls on the five-yard line. Concordia could only manage to secure a three-point kick to lead 10-7. A costly mistake in the last two minutes ensured McGill the cup. The Martlets took advantage of a two-on-one deep in Concordia territory forcing fullback Rosenbaum to make a high tackle. This penalty resulted in a try and a kick, which ended Concordia’s dream of finally hoisting the cup.
The Stingers were forced to watch Doreen Haddad, Kelly-Anne’s mother, hand the trophy over to the Martlets for yet another year.
“We just really wanted it so bad, and we do it all the time. We lose to McGill at the beginning of the year, but there is a psychological barrier because it’s McGill. We let up for 10 minutes and we can’t. That’s how we lost,” said Concordia’s captain Tranchemontagne.
Head Coach Graeme McGravie sounded positive as he sees this game as an improvement.
“This is the first year that we’ve even had a sniff of winning it,” he said, recalling the 41-3, 15-0 and 20-5 beatings Concordia has taken in the past cup meetings.
McGill captain Tiffany Hunting explained how much Drummond’s memory affected those who were her favourite adversaries.
“The reason that it’s always played between McGill and Concordia is because she loved the competitiveness between the two teams. We’re cross-town rivals and it’s always a challenge.”
Hunting added how Drummond’s memory intensified the game. “Being the defenders of the cup boosts you to go farther, but also just the cause of it and how much Kelly-Anne loved playing against McGill just brings it all together.”
The teams came together to raise $1,400 for Chez Doris, a women’s shelter. Haddad thanked the teams enthusiastically for carrying on Drummond’s spirit and encouraged them to continue living to the fullest. “They [the players] are working towards a future, and Kelly-Anne’s life got snuffed out, she didn’t have that chance.”
Lady ruggers capture first win
By Kelly Greig
September 16th, 2008
The Concordia Stingers women’s rugby team avenged their Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup loss with a hard-earned 22-0 win against the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Sunday afternoon at Concordia Field.
The Stingers first league win of the year evens their record to 1-1 and moves Concordia up to third place in the division behind McGill and Laval.
“Winning is always great,” said Stingers head coach Graeme McGravie.
“But we didn’t execute as well as we could have. There were missed chances for trys.”
Five minutes into the game, the Stingers jumped ahead 7-0. Winger Virginia Klinkhoff took the ball on a 60-yard run past the flat footed and dumbfounded Gee-Gees to score. Concordia athletics’ female athlete of the week Jackie Tittley added a kick through the posts for the extra points.
Within five minutes of the Stingers try, Ottawa was at Concordia’s doorstep. Attempt after attempt failed to drive the ball in as the Stingers gave a lesson in proper defence. Forwards Sarah Nesbitt and Vanessa Ng were outstanding and proved vital in forcing the Gee-Gees back.
The Stingers slowly marched back up the field by alternating between the back line’s running plays and the forwards’ short but physical gains.
Tittley and fullback Jenny Rosenbaum traded the ball back and forth while being tackled to let Rosenbaum score Concordia’s second try. Rookie Tittley then went on to add the extra points to put the Stingers ahead 14-0 at halftime.
“When watching Rosenbaum’s first try – if you can’t jump out of your seat watching that, then you shouldn’t be coming to rugby games,” said McGravie of the daring play.
The game seemed to come apart in the second half for the Stingers. Concordia stood still on defence letting the Gee-Gee’s gain valuable yards and build momentum.
“We knew we were winning, which is not a good frame of mind to be in because really that’s when the other team will pounce on you,” said Tittley.
Penalty after penalty plagued the Stingers and pushed them deep into their own territory.
“We lost a little bit of momentum, we were on our heels. It’s kind of a vicious cycle. You keep getting penalties so you keep trying to get the ball back and you keep doing things wrong so you get more penalties. It really was a lack of discipline on our part,” Tittley said.
Concordia’s mistakes led to their prop Ashley Csenar being penalized, meaning a 10-minute period where the player must leave the game and the team plays a woman short.
“We were lucky to still have all 15 people on the field at the end,” McGravie said, explaining that when missing a player, the team tends to become desperate, thus making more mistakes.
However, Concordia showed some grit and regrouped. Tittley added a three-point kick to widen the lead to 17-0 before scoring a try by dragging an Ottawa defender who was trying to tackle her for five yards into the end zone to make the 22-0 final.
Friday night, Concordia hosts the Sherbrooke Vert et Or at 6:00 p.m.
Concordia disappointing in win
By Kelly Greig
September 23rd, 2008
“It was hugely disappointing, I don’t know what else to tell you. We deserved to lose. It was a disappointment from the opening whistle to the last whistle.” Not what you’d expect to hear from the coach of a women’s rugby team who just upped their record to 2-1. But all Concordia Stingers head coach Graeme McGravie could do was watch from the sidelines as his team fought an uphill battle that should have been a cakewalk.
The Stingers women’s rugby team slipped by the Sherbrooke Vert et Or Friday night with a narrow 5-0 win.
The game started with Concordia looking shaky, but managing to maintain possession. Stinger forwards rucked the ball well and made it available to the backs who clocked in the yards with short gains. Within 10 minutes, Concordia was on the scoreboard. A wheeling scrum resulted in a golden opportunity for the ladies when rookie fly half Erika Hamilton coordinated a blindside play to fullback Jenny Rosenbaum who weaved her way into the end zone. The Stingers were up 5-0 and that was where it remained.
Inability to tackle by Concordia let the Vert et Or get away with atrocious passing and weak pick and gos. It wasn’t long before Sherbrooke was at Concordia’s doorstep and were using their weight as leverage. “Tackling was a huge issue for us tonight, but to be fair they outweigh us by about 60 to 80 pounds. But it’s not an excuse for poor tackling,” said McGravie. Concordia was saved by the bell in the first half as time ran out with Sherbrooke on the five-yard line.
There were strokes of brilliance in the first half, however few and far between. Flanker Vanessa Ng saved a try by coming up with a bone-crunching tackle. Passing between Ng and Sarah Nesbitt used post-lane passing to relieve pressure. Virginia Klinkhoff used her brains to strategically push players out of bounds and used her brawn to take down forwards twice her weight.
Concordia snapped out of their stupor in the beginning of the second half and came close to scoring again. Forwards were quick in getting to rucks and manipulating the wheeling scrums. Eight man Adara Borys worked well with scrumhalf Melanie Tranchemontagne to free up the ball and send it to the backs. Concordia had a clear shot at the end zone when Lorrie-Ann McDonald broke through, but literally dropped the ball.
As much as Concordia pushed, Sherbrooke pushed back harder. “We just assumed that they would fold and they didn’t, we were just going to walk all over them, but obviously that’s not what happened,” said Tranchemontagne, who is also the Stingers’ captain. Sherbrooke attacked all over the field and marched downfield. Concordia was forced to repeatedly make try line stands to stop the Vert et Or. Momentum was with Sherbrooke – waves of tackling halted the Stingers attempts to relieve pressure. The Stingers were slow getting up after getting dragged by the stocky Vert et Or players.
A lack of communication and demoralization plagued the Stingers late in the second. “It was a particularly silent game,” said forward Claire Hortop. “I would take a huge hit any day over getting pushed back in a scrum because it really breaks down your spirit.”
Despite all the doom and gloom, Concordia did win the game. They currently sit in third in the league behind McGill and Laval. McGravie smirked and said, “it’s like a get out of jail free card, which we played tonight and we definitely needed it.”
The Stingers come out of this game looking for revenge. They travel to the nation’s capital to face the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Sunday at 1 p.m. and Tranchemontagne is one player who is looking forward to it. “We’re going to work so hard that I feel sorry forOttawa already.”
Men’s rugby fall in home opener
By Kelly Greig
September 23rd, 2008
An 8-7 loss to the Sherbrooke Vert et Or was not the result Concordia’s men’s rugby team expected for their home opener. But, due to a bevy of missed opportunities, it was what the Stingers had to settle for.
“It was a tough loss, we had a lot of opportunities to win it. Missed kicks killed us,” lamented captain Eric Van Thiel. All the Stingers needed was one of their penalty kicks to go through the uprights for three points, but numerous attempts sailed wide.
Concordia had played poorly against Sherbrooke last week and were expecting to get a victory. “I thought we were going to win it until the last second. We went in thinking we were going to win,” said Van Thiel.
The Vert et Or started scoring early in the first half. A penalty kick put Sherbrooke up 3-0. Concordia fought back hard but the field positioning Concordia gained was quickly lost in a succession of rapid penalties, including one for talking back to the ref.
Sherbrooke capitalized on Concordia’s mistakes and pushed their way into the end zone.
Concordia answered back less than three minutes later. Fly half Jonathan Dextras-Romangnino caught a highflying blocked kick in the back of the end zone.
“We were trying to score the one point for the rest of the game, we kept making the effort at it and unfortunately it didn’t work,” said Stingers head coach Clive Gibson.
It was not for a lack of chances. Concordia forwards were gaining yards by dragging players with them. Two failed plays in the last minute were the clincher. A missed kick and a goal line stand by Sherbrooke in the end zone were the two plays that ended the game. “The intensity was up in the last 30 seconds and if we had done that all game then we would have won,” said Van Thiel about Concordia’s last minute stand.
“We played with passion,” said Gibson. “It’s early in the season, but unfortunately it’s only going to get harder.”
Stingers remain winless after loss to McGill
September 30th, 2008
A last play try let the Concordia Stingers men’s rugby team evade a shutout at the hands of the McGill Redmen 31-5 on Sunday.
The Stingers now drop to 0-3, remaining winless in league play. The Redmen sit atop the standings, as they remain undefeated this season.
“We just want to beat them because they think they’re the best,” said Stinger captain Eric Van Thiel. “We want to bring them down a couple of notches.” The Concordia squad needed to prove themselves explained flanker Julien Bruneau. “You want to show them that you’re able to break through and score.”
The first half showed promise for the gritty Stingers as the forwards battled for every ball. McGill chose their battles well and instead of sending their forwards crashing into Concordia’s waiting arms, they sent them to trample the smaller back line. It wasn’t long before the Redmen found themselves in the end zone. It was 7-0 McGill at the half.
The second half led to Concordia’s demise. McGill came out harder than ever looking to widen their lead.
“They came back strong to start the second half because they changed their game plan,” noted head coach Clive Gibson as McGill was all offence.
The McGill plan worked. As the Stingers got tired due to a lack of conditioning, the Redmen took advantage of every opportunity. In the span of one minute the score jumped up to 24-0.
Heads hung low after McGill’s back-to-back trys, but the Stingers didn’t want to quit. Bruneau said that in the huddle before the last kick off, the attitude was “let’s come out strong and let’s go for the last 10 minutes.”
This is when Concordia showed their grit. Inside centre Johnathan Francois and fullback Jonathan Dextras-Romangnino tackled as if there was no tomorrow. Flanker Bruneau fought tooth and nail to regain possession every chance he got. Dave Lawrence tried valiantly to score using his speed, but to no avail.
With less than two minutes left, the Stingers broke through. A play set up by Patrick Demers resulted in a two on one and Alec Montealegre found the corner to put Concordia on the board. The try turned out to be the last play of the game.
The Stingers are already looking ahead to their next match against McGill on Oct. 19 and to the post-season. Bruneau said, “from what I’ve seen today in the first half, we can get [a win against] these guys.” But also admitted, “they’re the team in Quebec to beat, if we want to go to Nationals we have to beat McGill.”
First the Stingers will have to travel to play Bishop’s University on Friday at 8:00 p.m
Two wins start 2008 for ladies basketball
January 8th, 2008
Concordia women’s basketball team rang in 2008 with a 70-65 win against Bishop’s and a 78-49 victory over McGill. Following a tough 0-3 weekend playing in the Reebok Tournament, The Stingers hung in tough with the Bishop Gaiters in an electrifying overtime game. In the first half Concordia played very disorganized basketball-their plays weren’t working and they were taking poor shot choices. What kept them ahead was Bishop’s terrible field goal record; they sunk six out of 40 in the first half.
Chelsea Cassidy played strong on defence and Yasmin Jean-Philippe made a smart three-point-play by driving to the basket and drawing a foul.
By the end of the first half the Stingers were ahead 25-17. The Gaiters began closing in on the Stingers’ lead as soon as they hit the floor. In a flurry of Bishop’s offence the Stingers soon found their lead slimmed down to 29-24 . Jean-Philippe
managed to keep a calm head and was sinking
three-pointers against much taller defenders, going 3-4 from behind the arc.
In the last quarter the Stingers were showing their exhaustion. Their defence allowed shots from all over the key which the Gaiters exploited and eventually took a slim lead. Near the end of the game the Stingers began to show some grit, with Stephanie Ramonas playing tough on both boards and sinking a shot-clock buzzer beater to boost morale. Each foul the Stingers committed was crucial because
Bishop’s took two foul shots every time. The lead changed hands four times in the quarter, ending with a score of 55-55 at the end of regulation time.
In a five-minute overtime a different Concordia team came to play. They played controlled basketball, taking intelligent shots and sinking them. Stinger guard Ebony Morris scored eight of the Stinger’s 15 overtime points and Ramonas put the nail in the coffin with two foul shots to clinch
the win 70-65. Ramonas commented on the feeling of getting a such a moral-boosting win. “It feels good to win but we still have things to improve on. A win was nice, it would have been nicer not to go into overtime but it felt good and all the girls are happy.”
Concordia 78, McGill 49
The next evening Concordia faced cross-town
rival McGill. From the first whistle to the last the Stingers played a very organized and fluid game. Every player knew what they had to do and executed with smooth passing. Krystle Douglas sent a speedy pass to Ramonas who was wide-open under the basket. Felon Harris sent a through-traffic pass to Heather Eason who got the two points and picked up a foul. Rebounding was physical. Eason was putting up two or three shots and 5’4 guar Morris was bringing down the
ball over much taller Martlet forwards. Concordia dominated the last four minutes of play in the first half as the Martlets fouled on almost every possession. The Stinger led 38-24 at halftime. Eason played well in the second half, as was a key to the Stingers offense as a go-to forward
with good body position and a physical presence.
“Good offensive play is all about being in a good rhythm, and the ladies are starting to execute better in terms of the flow in the offence. When it reaches a certain point it’s easier to get good shots,” said Head Coach Keith Pruden. With forward Kristin Portwine back on the floor after two first half fouls the Stingers had more
depth in their line-up. By the end of the game the fouls were starting to pile up, and McGill was in-bonus shooting for almost half of the fourth quarter. Though they won their second straight game, the injury bug came back to strike Concordia yet again when Morris left the court with an
undisclosed injury. Her team finished the game though, and the final whistle closed the book on a convincing 78-49 victory. “The second half everything was clicking and it’s nice to see.” Said Stingers head coach Keith Pruden, “I was very
happy with that,” The Stingers’ next game is at home on January 12 against first-place Laval Rouge et Or. The Stingers snapped an eight-game losing streak and are now 2-4 in the regular season with ten games remaining.
Concordia falls to unbeatenLaval
January 15th, 2008
The Concordia women’s basketball team was defeated 74-66 in a down-to-the-wire match against the Laval Rouge et Or. Lavalis currently ranked the top team in the division. Concordia’s eight point margin is the closest that any team has come to beating them all season.
The game started out slowly for the Stingers. Their first basket from the field came from Felon Harris after seven minutes of play. Concordia’s league-leading free-throw percentage kept them afloat as they went a perfect eight for eight in the first 20 minutes. However a combination of sloppy passing and quick Laval feet put the Stingers behind 32-27 at halftime.
Laval’s quick passing and solid defence kept their lead alive until the dying minutes of the third quarter. Stinger guard Krystle Douglas’s drives to the hoop and strong play by forwards Kristin Portwine and Stephanie Ramonas inched Concordia closer to Laval’s score. Concordia’s shooting percentage from the field jumped from 28 per cent in the first half to 53 per cent in the second. A back-to-back three pointer and buzzer-beater by Yasmin Jean-Philippe put the Stingers ahead 53-51 going into the last quarter. Heather Eason and Douglas both had a particularly good third quarter with five points and one steal apiece.
After a brief scoring drought at the beginning of the last quarter, the two teams were deadlocked 53-53. There was a two minute freeze on scoring as both teams couldn’t seem to break the other’s defence. Dependable baskets by Douglas, who leads her team in points, kept Concordia abreast with Laval. In the last minute the Stingers were down by five. A three-pointer by Ramonas with 23 seconds left had the crowd on its feet. It was for naught, in the end the Rouge et Or sunk six free-throws in a row to lock up the victory.
“I’m happy with how they played tonight. They had intensity. They had the opportunity to quit but didn’t give up,” said Concordia head coach Keith Pruden.
Pruden also noted that Laval’s strength came from Concordia’s flaws. “We lost because we didn’t do all we needed to do. Laval didn’t outplay us. We made some mistakes and Laval will punish you for every mistake you make.”
Portwine was singled out by Pruden as an outstanding player who has the ability to keep calm, even with the game on the line. “We need to make the right decisions in the last bit of the game. Sometimes we get so worked up in the moment that we don’t see the big picture, that we only need a couple of baskets to win,” she said.
The Stingers have this week off. Their next game is Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. Bishop’s University.
Women’s basketball still looking for maiden win of 2007
December 4th, 2007
The Concordia women’s basketball team faced a tough 71-62 defeat in their home-opener Friday night, at the hands of the UQAM Citadins. The loss dropped Concordia to 0-4.
Early on, it looked like Concordia had what it took to beat the 2-1 Citadins. In the first quarter the UQAM man-to-man defence was pressured by Concordia’s ability to get the ball into the key and capitalize.
At the other end of the court, the Stinger’s zone defence was forced the Citadins to take outside shots, as Concordia’s forwards shut down any drives into the key.
Play was passionate and physical, with many jump-ball wrestling matches that resulted in bodies all over the floor. At the end of the first quarter the Stingers were only down 15-11.
The defensive play was fluid in the beginning of the second quarter as Concordia quickly adjusted to whoever had the ball and shut down their lanes. Wherever there was a Citadins player looking to shoot from the outside, there was a Stinger with a hand up ready to challenge.
Kristin Portwine was extremely aggressive under the net, ending up with six rebounds in the game. Ebony Morris came up big on defence, most notably by breaking up a Citadins fast break by swatting the ball away.
On the offensive end, Concordia exploited their chances and took good shots. At one point, Krystle Douglas went coast-to-coast on a break, and scored against three UQaM defenders.
The Stingers eliminated UQaM’s scoring while scoring eight points of their own in the first four minutes of the second quarter. Halfway through the quarter, however, things started to fall apart. Stingers’ zone defence began to break, letting the Citadins pass to players open under the basket.
One of the most notable differences was Concordia’s inability to box out, allowing the Citadins to put up as many as three shots.
The Stingers didn’t score one basket from the field in the last five minutes of the half, and the frustration was visible on Coach Pruden’s face as he paced up and down the sidelines. By the end of the first half the Citadins had regained the lead 39-27.
Concordia’s offence remained sluggish in the third quarter. The first basket from the field came with 1:50 left in the quarter. There were an abundance of passes going out of bounds, Stingers guards getting the ball stolen. No Stinger on the floor seemed to be moving their feet to create open space.
Defence was the Stinger’s saving grace in the third quarter, preventing the Citadins from exploiting their height in the key. The Stingers forced the outside shots by playing tight to the net; unfortunately most of those outside shots were sunk.
By the end of the third quarter the Concordia bench was hanged their heads while the Citadins’ side were enthusiastically high-fiving.
The fourth quarter proved to be no better for the Stingers. There was exceptional play from Portwine to keep the scoring alive, and by Douglas, whose game high 23 points still wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of defence.
It was a shooting gallery for the Citadins, whose outside scorers were sinking balls time after time.
Concordia’s captain Stephanie Ramonas, brought down many boards, but her team was out-rebounded 39-23.
Concordia switched to a man-to-man defence in the late stages of the game, but to no avail as UQAM scored 19 points in the last quarter.
Head coach Keith Pruden stressed the Stingers need to improve on their focus.
“[We] don’t have the ability to stay focused and intense,” he said. “When we get up by a couple [of points] we say ‘Oh, we won’ and seem to quit playing.”
The team is a relatively young one, with only three players having spent more than two years with the Stingers.
Pruden is relying on many rookies and second year players, but he believes they need to show more “intestinal fortitude” and keep up their level of intensity.
The women’s team will not be running full practices until the Reebok Invitational Tournament on Dec. 28-30, as their gym space will be used for writing exams.
Women’s basketball drops to 0 – 3
November 27, 2007
The Concordia Women’s basketball team dropped to 0-3 this weekend, losing to McGill last Thursday and Laval on Saturday.
The Stingers lost to the McGill Martlets 64-52 at McGill’s Donald Love Competition Hall.
McGill led the Stingers after every quarter and fed the ball to their point guard Christine Kennedy, who had a game-high seventeen points. The Stinger’s high scorers were Yasmin Jean-Phillipe with thirteen points, Adele Allison with twelve points and Heather Eason with eleven.
The Martlets outside shooters and strong drives below the net started to wear down Concordia’s defence by the second quarter. McGill’s guards breaking down to the net drew fouls and the Stingers faced a very physical man-to-man defensive press. Concordia struggled with rebounding both on offence and on defence allowing McGill put up two or three shots every drive.
After the first half the Stingers trailed 34-27. The team was on a positive roll before halftime, holding McGill to four points in two minutes. However, in the last minute of the first half, the Martlets dominated both offensively and defensively.
The mood coming back from halftime was apparent. McGill came back to the floor for warm-up with energy and support while Concordia looked sluggish and defeated. “That difference could describe the entire game,” said Head Coach Keith Pruden. “Our intensity was low, all McGill had to do was take advantage of it.”
The third quarter was especially problematic for the Stingers; letting McGill go with nine unanswered points. Concordia didn’t score their first basket until the fourth minute. The Stinger’s offence moved the ball around the top of the key and was driving to the basket well, but the Martlet players were winning under the boards and the physical matches.
In the last quarter, Concordia finally found their energy and competivness; diving for lose balls and fighting for every possession. The Stingers stepped up their ball movement, but in the dying minutes both Eason and Ebony Morris, two of Concordia’s starters, fouled out, making it difficult to make up an eight point deficit in last thirty seconds.
Pruden questioned the legitimacy of Morris’s last foul. “Sometimes the reffing is like the weather, you can complain all you want but it won’t change anything.”
Fouls didn’t help the Stinger team. By the end of each quarter McGill was already on bonus, and every time the Stingers drew a foul they shot free throws.
Pruden described the mood in the team room post-game as subdued. “They’d better be angry and thirsty for a win.”
On Saturday, Concordia women’s team faced the Laval Rouge et Or and were defeated 80-62.
The Stingers’ next game is Friday Nov. 30 against UQAM at 8 p.m. at Concordia.