The Martlet rugby team (2-3) bulldozed past the Carleton Ravens (0-5) 35-0 on Saturday at Molson Stadium to stay in the hunt for a post-season berth. If Concordia (3-1) defeats Sherbrooke (1-4) on Sunday or wins any of their remaining regular season matches, McGill’s playoff hopes will be squashed.
“[The game] definitely was a must win, [but] depending on what happens this weekend we might be out already,” Coach Matthew Stephens said.
McGill did not show any anxieties about qualification on the pitch, however, with a confident, hard-hitting performance. Captain and prop Audrey Marcotte, recently named to the RSEQ All-Star team, led the way with several incisive runs. Her fantastic handling and interplay with senior flanker Katrine Lightstone and veteran centre Caroline Suchorski kept Carleton off balance and helped draw a penalty from the Ravens 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 she leads on the field,” 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 to play.”
McGill methodically wore Carleton down for the entirety of the game. Stephens made the tactical change of bringing in sophomore 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 and weren’t playing to their full potential.
“[The break] was great for us because before that we had four games in 15 days,” Stephens explained. “We did not have the time to work on anything. It was pretty tough, we needed that time off [….] It [was] a tough way to start the season, 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.”
The Martlets play Bishop’s (0-4) next week and will keep one eye on Concordia’s (3-1) performance as their playoff hopes hang in the balance.
“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.” – Coach 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 a positive point differential (99 points for, 91 points against) for the first time since their second week of the season.
Updated 10:45 p.m.: The Concordia Stingers defeated the Bishop’s Gaiters 81-5 on Sunday knocking McGill out of the RSEQ playoffs