Photo by Marc Lafleur
OTTAWA, Ontario – Saturday was a day of celebration as the Carleton Ravens women’s rugby team took to the Ravens’ Perch for the first time in 2021. Not only did the game open the team’s tenth anniversary season, but it was also the first Ravens varsity game in 552 days.BOX SCORE
Saturday afternoon’s kick-off also started the tenth season for the visiting Montreal Carabins. Fittingly, Ravens captain Roberta Drummond (Belleville, Ont.) brought a start to the game, ending her year-long wait to start her fifth and final season of eligibility. The two teams exchanged possessions early on as players looked to work out their nerves and adjust to their first games in over a year and a half.
Despite strong early play from forwards Lauryn Walker (Brampton, Ont.) and Charlotte Elliott (Napanee, Ont.) it would be the Carabins scoring first midway through the half. Leading by five, the Carabins extended their lead late in the first half capitalizing on a Ravens turnover. As the teams broke for the half, the Ravens found themselves trailing a consistent Montreal squad 10-0.
The halftime featured a third tenth-anniversary celebration as the Ravens Rhythm delighted the crowd with a performance of their own. Refreshed, the Ravens returned to the field in the second half with a renewed pace.
Early back-and-forth momentum to start the second half swung in Carleton’s favour as Walker broke a series of tackles pushing the Ravens deep into the Carabins’ half. The Ravens would continue to press forward carrying a long possession before finally breaking through when Claire File (Milton, Ont.) found rookie wing Mckenna Taylor (Stirling, Ont.) open for the try.
The Ravens continued their impressive second half once again using strong defense to establish an offensive drive. The Carabins would however take advantage of a Ravens penalty to establish possession off a lineout swinging the ball wide for their third and final try.
Despite good depth off the bench and great support from the strong contingent of Ravens fans, the tenth-anniversary party was spoiled, if only slightly, as the Carabins took the victory 17-5.
Reflecting on the game, head coach David Luong felt the team did well to refocus at the half coming back out strong. When asked about the difference between the two halves Luong said “Maybe, it was a bit of excitement, a bit of nerves, a bit of rust after two years, but I think after halftime we regrouped and understood what needed to be done.”
To a player, the Ravens relished every moment of being back on the field in front of friends, family and fans. Even veteran players like Drummond were in awe of the moment. “This morning I woke up and it felt surreal, it didn’t feel like a game was happening. Until we got out here and the first whistle blew, I looked in the stands and I was like ‘fans are back’, it felt surreal, but it’s here now, it’s solidified.” Having soaked in their return, the Ravens now look to build momentum with only five games remaining in the regular season.
The Ravens look to secure their first win of the season next weekend, as they travel to McGill on Saturday, September 18, 2021. The Ravens’ next home game takes place on Saturday, September 25, 2021, when McGill will make the return trip to Ravens Field.