Rams hoping victory earns them playoff advantage
Dalhousie rams player Becky Blank reaches for the ball as her teammate Lauren Berlemont tackles a Mount Allison Mounties player in a pile up during their ACAA women's rugby match Sunday at Farnham Mill Rugby Park. The rams won the contest 17-5 and hope the win was enough to earn them the right to host the conference final Nov. 2 to 4. Matt Veno - Truro Daily News
BROOKSIDE - The Dalhousie Rams did everything they needed Sunday with a victory over the Mount Allison Mounties.
Now they're waiting to learn today whether their 17-5 victory at Farnham Mill Rugby Park is enough to give them home field advantage in the ACAA women's rugby final Nov. 2 to 4.
Sunday's result leaves both teams with 3-1 records at the conclusion of the regular season. But what the Rams are waiting to hear is if their seven-point edge over Mount Allison in head-to-head matchups will break the tie.
"If it goes points for and against for the whole league then (Mount Allison) would get home field," Rams head coach Dave Cotterill said. "We're just waiting to hear back."
The Mounties have scored 76 points this season while allowing just 32. The Rams have mustered 44 while surrendering 35.
But even as they left the pitch full of uncertainty, the Rams were nevertheless overjoyed with Sunday's result.
"We worked really hard for this so we're really happy and proud," Rams co-captain and eight-man Jeanette Van der Linden said. "It was a great game, everything was what we practiced all year and it just feels really good to have the win."
The Rams used a strong defensive approach to stifle the speedy Mounties, keeping them from getting anything going offensively. The Rams continually swarmed any Mounties player who touched the ball within a few steps, killing any chance of a strong pass or a long run.
"We were flying up and it wasn't a matter of fitness, it was who wanted it," Cotterill said. "Their team is so fast that if you let them get the full pace, it's so hard to tackle them. If we can shut them down before they get moving, and that's exactly what we did, it makes a big difference."
Even so, the game was still a tight one. The Rams held a 5-0 edge at half time thanks to a Joan Cole try.
Meghan O'Leary gave Dalhousie a 10-0 cushion early in the second half before the Mounties mounted a comeback attempt mid-way through the final frame when Alanna Skot scored to make it 10-5. However, Cole took a pass to score virtually untouched, then added a conversion to ice the contest.
But there were tense moments in the closing minutes as the Mounties repeatedly threatened to score and had the Rams pinned on their goal line at the final whistle.
"It was still scary that whole game because had they scored one more and put the convert through it would have been a five-point game and that would have given (Mount Allison) home field," Cotterill said. "But our last try energized the girls back up and they were able to shut them down in the last five minutes."