BYU prevail over Lethbridge

Saturday March 19, 2016 : 11:00am - By Emma Stewart

Provo, UT - BYU women’s rugby got a 26-14 victory over Lethbridge, Canada Saturday afternoon. The BYU Cougars met at Helaman Field to take on the Pronghorns from the Canadian University of

Lethbridge from Lethbridge, Alberta for the first time in three years. Lethbridge came out on top in the last matchup between the two teams in 2012 with 5-3 over the BYU team. Expecting this to be their

hardest game this season, the Cougars were hoping for some preparation to play Central Washington. Playing the other Cougars on Wednesday March 23, and possibly next month in the D1 Elite playoffs in

Ellensburg, the BYU Cougars were looking for this game to be a good chance to hone their skills. The sunny Saturday morning game kicked off at 11 am, with both teams coming out with some big hits

and aggressive rucks. With many penalties on both sides, the Pronghorns and the Cougars fought for the upper hand. Finally the Cougars were able to punch through the Lethbridge defense and Sia Skipps

scored the first points of the game. After a difficult conversion by Jessie Beck, the score was 7 – 0 rounding off the scoring for the first half.

Both the Pronghorns and the Cougars fought hard in the rucks and scrums for possession of the ball. Though there were a couple line breaks by the Lethbridge players, the Cougars spent the majority of the

first half on the Lethbridge side of the field. Tight defense by the Pronghorns held BYU at bay, and the half ended with no additional scoring by either side.

“We started slow and we could have done better with our offense,” said head coach Tom Waqa. “That’s understandable when you play a really good team. Credit to Lethbridge, they gave us a really good game.”

The second half started off with another penalty and BYU’s Jessie Beck trying to kick for points. Kicking just a little wide of the uprights, the score stayed at 7-0 until a few moments later Amber Ah Sue was

able to find a hole in the Lethbridge defense after some good teamwork by the BYU team to make the score 12 – 0. After a good conversion by Jessie Beck, the score became 14-0. Soon after, Analise Arnold

snuck her way past the Pronghorns for another try for BYU. Jessie Beck missed this conversion, keeping the score at 21-0 for BYU. Finally, after some good forward plays and a kick down the field, Alyssa Parco

touched the ball down for the last try of the game for the Cougars making the score 26-0. The Pronghorns rallied, and with some substitutions on the BYU side, were able to find space on the

outside and number 14, Hailey Driscoll, made her way to the try zone for their first points of the game. The conversion was good and the Pronghorns had brought the score to 26-7 with about twenty minutes

left of the second half. The Pronghorn’s continued physicality wore down the BYU defense and Hailey Driscoll was able to score again for Lethbridge right between the uprights. The conversion was good and

the score became 26-14. The Cougars held on until the end of the game against some attack by the Pronghorns, fighting until the end of the game. Though there was good work on offense for both BYU

and Lethbridge, both teams held each other off to finish the game with no more points scored.

“We were more energized in the second half,” Arnold said. “We decided we needed cleaner passes and we needed to make our tackles.”

Ah Sue said she remembered losing to Lethbridge by just two points her freshman year. She said she knew they would need to put everything into this game in order to come out on top.

“Lethbridge is a really good team,” Ah Sue said. “We don’t get this calibre of competition as often as we like.”

Next week, BYU will face No. 2 ranked Central Washington. Ah Sue said this game was a great confidence booster to prepare them for that game.

“This game was so important for our team,” Ah Sue said. “We put a lot into our practices for this game and so we know that we can follow through with what we practice.”