By Thomas Becker
The Panthers are headed to the playoffs after eliminating the Saint Mary's Huskies with a convincing 62-14 win.
Sophie Carragher was an unstoppable force with her three tries and was supported by strong performances by Anneke Dykerman, Sophie Duguay and rookie Brinten Comeau, who each scored a pair of tries in the win.
Saturday's game was night and day compared to their last meeting, when they narrowly took down those same Huskies 25-12.
"None of us were happy about that last game. We knew we had a lot more we could put in," said Carragher, who was named Subway Player of the Game. "We've been working really hard on our system. We've been playing a lot of defence, so it was nice to get some offence going today."
The Panthers wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as Dykerman plowed through the final 10 yards for the game's opening try just five minutes in. Saint Mary's tied the game 12 minutes later on a try by Brittany MacKinnon.
After that, UPEI's free-flowing offence and improved pattern running took over. Carragher had no intention of keeping this game close and responded with a quick try. She'd add another on just minutes later.
Late in the half, Tara Campbell turned on the jets and raced 50 yards for her first try of the match. Campbell had another try in her sights from 60 yards out, but instead dished it to Dykerman, who carried it the final 10 to put the Panthers ahead 33-7 at the break.
"Our focus in practice has been laser sharp," said Panthers head coach John LaBoyne. "We spent a lot of time on video and we identified the areas we needed to work on, which included the breakdown and pattern running."
The second half played out similarly to the first. Duguay scored quickly for the Panthers, which was matched by Huskie Kathryn Steeves, who trimmed the lead 40-14. That's all Saint Mary's could muster on offence, as UPEI's defence smothered their opponent at every turn.
Carragher would add her third try of the game before Comeau and Duguay carried their team to the finish line for the 62-14 final. Not to be forgotten was Fraces MacWilliam, who poured in 12 points on six conversions.
Now the Panthers play the waiting game to find out who'll the faceoff against in the semifinals – either Acadia or St. FX.
"We need to continue what we did today," Carragher said. "We worked really hard as a team and teamwork's what wins games, so we're excited to take on whoever's next."
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan