Rugby: McGill shut out Carleton, still left hollow

At kickoff against the Carleton Ravens in Molson stadium on Saturday, the McGill Martlets (2-3) were as good as out of the postseason. By Sunday, Concordia's 81-5 victory over Bishop’s saw them formally knocked out.

“After [the loss to Montreal] we realized we would have to rely on [Concordia’s] results,” Head Coach Matthew Stephens said. “We are not happy, [but] we [will] make the best of [our] situation.” 

McGill did not show any anxieties about qualification on the pitch, however, with a confident, hard-hitting 35-0 victory over the Carleton Ravens. Captain and prop Audrey Marcotte, recently named an RSEQ All-Star, led the way with several incisive runs. Her fantastic handling and interplay with flanker Katrine Lightstone and senior centre Caroline Suchorski kept Carleton off balance and drew a Raven’s penalty in the 34th minute. Suchorski converted to put the score up 16-0.

“Audrey is our captain for a reason: She’s a great person and [leader],” Stephens said. “She’s a handful for every team we play […] she plays like this every game; it’s the only way she knows how.”

McGill methodically wore Carleton down for the whole game. Stephens made the tactical change of bringing on fullback Alexandra Robb in the second half to exploit Carleton’s tired legs and propensity to bunch around the ball. She rewarded him with a try in the 75th minute. Senior winger Deanna Foster passed to spring Robb loose, who then broke four tackles on her way to score a try.

“We actually had [Robb] watch in the first half to see where the space was,” Stephens said. “Her job was to go in and turn the game around in the second half, and I think she did that.”

Prior to their lengthy break, the Martlets seemed worn out.

“[The time off] was great because before that, we had four games in 15 days,” Stephens explained. “We needed that time off [….] We had a lot of tough games early without time to really prepare. No excuses, but we are trying to develop and get ourselves better.”

Stephens is keeping the Martlets focused as they play Bishop’s (0-4) next week.

“We are [focused on] getting better and developing our players,” Stephens said. “That [does not] change as far as our preparation for Bishops.”

Sound bites

“It’s not just about running and smashing people, it’s about playing and looking for space and going into gaps and this game was the best game we have this year of doing that.” Stephens on the Martlets’ progress this season.

Moment of the game

Alexandra Robb got the ball in the 52nd minute and then proceeded to slalom past four Carleton defenders. She stepped sharply and wriggled loose of the grasping defenders, further deflating the Carleton defence.

Stat of the game

McGill has their first positive point differential (99 for, 91 against) since Week 2.

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