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‘Best game of the year’: Last-minute loss for Acadia Axewomen at rugby nationals

First-place ranked defending champs Ottawa Gee-Gee’s win 26-24 over eighth-place Acadia

WOLFVILLE – Acadia’s rugby Axewomen were minutes from victory Nov. 1 when the Ottawa Gee-Gees scored two final points to continue their journey to yet another national championship.

A release provided by Acadia Athletics said the game came to 26-24 for the Ontario team, and was a “riveting” match until the final seconds ticked off the clock, and the Gee-Gees scored to victory. The team will now advance to the tournament’s semifinal.

Acadia Athletics executive director Kevin Dickie said this meant the match was a tough one to lose for the team, and the university.

“I’ve not seen us play better, and I’ve not seen a better game. There’s the moral victory part, and then the difficult part is playing to the number one team in the country and coming out on the short side,” he said.

Rugby coach Matthew Durant led the team, ranked eighth in their division, as players Maddie Mackenzie, Alysha Corrigan and Gillian Bergsma scored tries for Acadia.

Mackenzie’s second try put Acadia in front with nine minutes remaining, and the team later tallied a pair of tries – six minutes apart after falling behind – assuming a 24-19 advantage, but the top-ranked Ottawa team persevered and scored the game's final points.

Dickie has dubbed the game the club’s “best of the year,” and said this only means it was a more devastating loss because of it, especially considering the team’s near-successful comeback.

He said it’s even more heartbreaking considering the province’s success overall in the sport.

“If you take a look at success we’ve all had at the national level, Nova Scotia is trending rugby-wise – especially on the female side,” he said.

“We’re certainly trending ahead of the curve in terms of the sport becoming bigger and better in the province.”

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