Len Catling/UBC Thunderbirds
VANCOUVER – The UBC Thunderbirds fought valiantly but in the end couldn't come up with the timely scoring play to claw back into their game with the Alberta Pandas. By the match's final whistle the T-Birds (0-3) had dropped a 41-19 decision to Alberta (2-1) and will now miss the Canada West playoffs.
"We have a week and a half until that one," said UBC centre Nicole Mallow, when asked about the 'Birds final game versus Lethbridge. "We are going to work hard in training and hopefully we can get a 'W'."
As has happened many times this season, the Thunderbirds played very strong in stretches, including the game's first 30 minutes. After the Pandas had opened the scoring on a try by centre Sarah Farley, UBC mounted a relentless drive up field. The drive was capped by forceful 10-yard run by T-Bird scrumhalf Bianca Acland, who dragged two Panda tacklers with her through the goalposts into the tying score.
"I believe once we are attacking and have our ball we are really strong," said Mallow.
It was the first half's final ten minutes where Alberta put the pedal to the floor and took the game to UBC. Sustained pressure equalled two Panda tries within five minutes of each other scored by flanker Deborah Adesegun and eight Amee Svatos. Alberta was up 19-7 at halftime.
"We knew UBC was going to come out hard judging from some of their other games," said Alberta head coach Matt Parrish. "We knew if we got to have with the score in that region, it would be good for us."
Alberta came out quickly in the second half by marching the kick-off all the way into UBC territory before Svatos, who seemed unstoppable at times in the open field, broke through the UBC defence for her second try of the game, pushing the Panda lead to 24-7.
But UBC would not go away. In the 57th minute first-year fly-half Mackenzie Carson made a swift diagonal dash from 15 yards out and dove across the goal line. The score was 24-14 and the 'Birds were back in business.
Unfortunately for UBC they couldn't retain possession on the following kick-off and the letdown lead to two more Alberta tries, sealing their fate for the day.
"I think our team is really strong and I think we work our butts off," said Mallow. "It's just unfortunate problems happen and bad decisions are made. But everyone worked really hard, especially our graduating players. I'm just so happy to be with them."
Alberta has two weeks to get ready for a massive cross-province matchup with the Calgary Dinos on October 15. UBC will play their final regular season game versus Lethbridge on October 14 at the Gerald McGavin Rugby Centre.
18' – Alberta TRY – Sarah Farley (conversion by Sarah Farley) – Alberta 7-0
23' – UBC TRY – Bianca Acland (conversion by Brooke Bazian) – 7-7
34' – Alberta TRY – Deborah Adesegun (conversion by Sarah Farley) – Alberta 14-7
39' – Alberta TRY – Amee Svatos (conversion failed) – Alberta 19-7
45' – Alberta TRY – Amee Svatos (conversion failed) – Alberta 24-7
57' – UBC TRY – Mackenzie Carson (conversion by Brooke Bazian) – Alberta 24-14
60' – Alberta TRY – Sara Haring (conversion by Sarah Farley) – Alberta 31-14
66' – Alberta TRY – Alexa Martin (conversion failed) – Alberta 36-14
74' – UBC TRY – Nicole Mallow (conversion failed) – Alberta 36-19
77' – Alberta TRY – Aly Anderson (conversion failed) – Alberta 41-19
IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Lam/UBC Thunderbirds