BY GARRETT BURCHETT
As the Conestoga Condor’s varsity women’s rugby team warmed up for their game against Sheridan College on Oct. 13, they noticed something wrong. Sheridan hadn’t shown up yet.
The Bruins had gotten lost on the way to Bill Struck Field in Cambridge. They arrived just after the 5 p.m. start time. After being given time to warm up, the game got underway after only a slight delay.
However, that delay seemed to have a bigger effect on Conestoga. The Condors came out playing sloppy and Sheridan quickly took control.
The Bruins scored less than two minutes into the game, and led 12-0 at halftime. On a cold, damp and rainy day, it would have been easy to roll over and give up. But the Condors have championship aspirations, and weren’t about to go down without a fight.
“I don’t know what changed, we had a couple of fresh legs go in, we had a bit of a chat about being passionate, about what they were doing here,” said assistant coach Anna Kirkey. “The girls turned around and started playing rugby.”
Conestoga came out in the second half looking like a different team, dominating possession, making solid tackles and breaking long runs with both their forwards and backfield.
As the sun went down the Condors’ offence woke up. Forward Natalie Kwiecien scored two tries, as did back Morgan Minke. Scarlette Jarquin added a convert for the Condors.
And when the final whistle blew, the Condors were victorious, winning 22-12.
The win moves the Condors to 4-1 on the season, and into first place in the west division.
With only one game remaining in their regular season, a matchup against winless Mohawk, the Condors are looking for greater consistency down the stretch. The team is no stranger to playing Jekyll and Hyde rugby, losing their only game of the season 59-0 to Humber, and then beating that same team 20-0 just two weeks later.
“Next game we need to work on keeping that confidence and aggression for the entire game,” said Kirkey.
The Condors have their sight set on the Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association championship game on Nov. 14. The Condors reached the gold medal game back in 2011, but lost to Humber and settled for silver. This year, the sky is the limit.
“This team can go as far as they choose to go. This team has so much potential, and so much aggression and ability, if they use it, they can go all the way,” Kirkey said.