Concordia 74, McGill 0: Stingers Women’s Rugby Team Outclass McGill Martlets

Concordia Overcomes an Emotional Start to Blow Out Rivals in Huge Win

Concordia Stingers women’s rugby team takes photo in front of the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup. Photo Caroline Marsh
The Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup honors the legacy of the late Stinger, killed over a decade ago. Photo Caroline Marsh

Kelly-Anne Drummond guided the thoughts of players and fans as they prepared for the fifteenth annual Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup.

The Stingers hosted the McGill Martlets for the annual match that honors Drummond—a Stinger whose death resulted from domestic violence in 2004—and raises awareness about conjugal violence.

Before the game, Drummond’s mother, Doreen Haddad and numerous alumni attended the Stingers’ weekly pre-game jersey delegation. During the jersey delegations, the players reap the rewards of their hard work and receive their game jerseys based on merit. The jersey numbers count from one to 26, and, in honor of Drummond, number three remains un-worn.

Before the players received their jerseys, Haddad spoke to the team and awarded third-year forward, Tess Armstong with the first Kelly-Anne Drummond scholarship. Armstrong delivered a short speech and accepted the scholarship.

When asked about her thoughts on the award, Armstrong exclaimed, “I was not expecting to receive it, but when I found out, I obviously felt super, super grateful. It has helped me you know, focus on my school, give more to this team.”

As kickoff approached, fans honored Drummond with their attendance and donations to Women Aware, which is a non-profit that seeks to prevent and end domestic violence against women, men, youth and children.

The Stingers struggled as the game started, and their disorganized play prevented them from scoring early.

“I think we started very emotionally. We just had a hard time taking a breath and kind of settling back down,” said Stingers’ head coach, Jocelyn Barrieau.

Melissa Joly steadied the Stingers’ early-game woes. Joly continually secured possession of the ball and pressured the Martlets on barbarous runs.

Near the eleventh minute of the first half, Joly seized the ball and bombarded McGill’s defence until Laetitia Royer took over and scored the first points of the game.

While the Stingers’ offence struggled early in the match, their defence suffocated the Martlets. Each time the Martlets attempted to work the ball out of their end, the Stingers pressed them backwards and forced turnovers. This pressure led to Stingers’ tries.

Twenty-four minutes into the first half, fourth-year back, Emily Magee, who had scored four tries in her previous two games, intercepted a Martlet pass and stormed into the Martlet in-goal area for her fifth try of the season.

Magee’s try emanated from an offensive mistake made by the Martlets, and the Stingers defensive pressure enabled many such tries while the Stingers struggled to implement their offensive systems.

According to Magee, “our main challenge was really to play our system, and in the first part of the game, we struggled with that a little bit . . . [in the second half] we focused a lot more on playing our structures and seeing where the holes in their defence were and how we could best exploit them.”

One could also credit the Stingers’ second-half success to the expansive lead that they had generated.

Stinger Lia Hoyte pierces through McGill defence in dominant win at home. Photo Caroline Marsh
The score at halftime was 33-0, and the Martlets appeared overwhelmed by their inability to penetrate the Stingers’ defence.

After halftime, the Stingers continued to dominate, and with the addition of their improving system play, they sliced through the Martlet defence at will.

Fifth-year back, Lia Hoyte excelled in her final regular-season home game as a Stinger. Hoyte enacted lightning-fast tackles and blazing runs throughout the game.

The game finished with a score of 74-0 and the Stingers hoisted the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup for the second consecutive season.

Although Hoyte has played her final regular-season game at Concordia Stadium, the Stingers have important games remaining this season.

First, the Stingers and Martlets rematch on October 6 at Stade Percival-Molson.

When asked about her team’s potential complacency following such a dominant performance, Barrieau suggests, “That’s happened to us with UdeM, I think. We had a considerable victory, and then really struggled against them in game two. So I think that’s our lesson. We had one wake up call, and we hope not to have another.”

After the Stingers play the Martlets, they travel to Carleton University to play the Ravens. If the Stingers beat the Ravens, they will progress in the RSEQ playoffs and swap places with the Ravens in the classifications to play next season in Section A.

While moving up into Section A is a goal that the Stingers set at the beginning of the season, Stingers’ Captain, Kirsten Trafford suggests, “We haven’t shifted our minds towards it yet because we still have one game coming.”

That game represents the final regular-season opportunity for the Stingers to refine their systems and improve on their lopsided victory at the fifteenth annual Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup.

In a previous version of this article, Melissa Joly was referred to as Melanie Joly and Laetitia Royer as Latetia Royer. Emily Magee was also listed as a forward, when in fact, she is a back. The Link regrets these errors.