Tough provincial draw burns Lady Knights
Rugby: HTA girls finish sixth at Tier I championships
Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 06:00 am
This wake up call arrived a few minutes too late.
The Holy Trinity Academy Knights got an early introduction into provincial level intensity in their opening 33-5 loss to Western Canada, the eventual Tier 1 silver medallists, en route to a sixth-place finish at the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association Rugby Provincial Championships, June 7 in Calgary.
“It was a nice little kick-start for how we were supposed to continue playing for the rest of provincials,” said Grade 12 forward Macaela Bolduc. “Compared to the people in our zone that we’ve been playing this was our first ‘wow, these guys are good’ (moment).’”
The Knights, who played some of their best rugby of the season in dispatching the Foothills Falcons 39-15 in the South Central Zone final on June 3, couldn’t replicate their form in the early stages versus the Calgary school.
“The aura of beating the Comp on Tuesday, instead of that being a building point that was kind of the peak,” said Knights head coach Darcy Gallant. “That showed in the first 10 minutes against Western. Basically if you take the first 10 minutes of the game out, we beat them.
“It all kind of mounted, the injuries. If we came out playing like we did on Tuesday, I believe we’re in the final. I wouldn’t lie. I think we had the talent.”
The loss dropped the Knights into a date with Pincher Creek’s Matthew Halton Hawks with a spot in the consolation final on the line. HTA shook off a challenging start to win easily 24-5.
“First half we were lazy a little bit,” Bolduc said. “Second half we set up on defence really well and it brought it back for us.”
The Knights then limped into Saturday’s consolation game with the Winston Churchill Bulldogs out of Calgary without the services of star No. 8 Macai Schneider, among others, and merely ran out of gas.
“We had a bunch of injuries from (Friday) so we were trying to just keep the effort up,” Bolduc said. “Keep the energy up and try to do our best because this was our last game and we wanted to win for our team.”
The Bulldogs packed a heavy punch and carried a commanding 24-0 lead at halftime, cruising to the 41-5 victory to sew up fifth spot in the Tier 1 division.
“The main focus was defence because we have been struggling with that still,” said Grade 10 inside-centre Colleen Rab. “In the future we should still work on it, but offensively we’re a really strong team.
“I was just happy to come here in general.”
On the heels of back-to-back provincial appearances, the Knights are poised to become a fixture at the Alberta championships in the coming years.
With just four graduating players, the Knights coach is already planning towards a promising 2015 season with a number of returnees expected.
“Most of our bodies are Grade 10s and we have a few Grade 11s. There’s going to be some huge years here,” Gallant said. “The balance is more back-tilted where it hasn’t been that way for a couple of years. There is a huge opportunity and we’ll see what happens.”
The Raymond Comets went on to defeat Western Canada to win the Tier I gold medal.
In the Tier II ranks, Fort MacLeod’s F.P. Walshe Flyers soared to the provincial championship by beating out Lethbridge’s Winston Churchill Griffins in the final.
The full results from the tournament can be found at asaa.ca