Seven different Golden Hawks players found the try zone on Tuesday as the NDSS girls rugby team cruised to a 44-5 victory over the Ernestown Eagles.
Napanee took control of the game early, building a 29-0 advantage at the close of the first half. That allowed the coaching staff to get the entire roster —upwards of 40 players — into the game.
“The challenge was —and I went out there a few times to remind them — that we wanted to improve a little bit each game,” said Hawks head coach Sean Dunleavy. “They did really well. I was proud of them. Those are games where they might want to get their own try and show off a bit but I was really proud of them for sticking to the work ons that we had identified.”
Jasmina Dennis scored a pair of tries to open the score, with Madelyn Marlow kicking a covert. Marlow then picked up a try of her own, diving over the try line while an Eagle defender attempted to halt her progress. Anna Murphy and Olivia Fenwick each added a try in the high scoring opening half.
Napanee continued to move the ball well in the latter half of the game as Gracie Hearns, Summer Kimmett and Lauren Sutton each scored for the home team.
As the score got out of reach, the Hawks were able to sub in some of their younger players into the game. With such a large roster, a game like Monday’s allowed the next generation to get some game experience as they move up the ranks of the varsity sport.
“Two years ago I wasn’t sure if we were going to have a team,” said Dunleavy. “It was a funny year where we had a core group and not much else. Last year we added a couple more and this year it just exploded for us.”
The victory pushed the Hawks record to a perfect 3-0 on the season. They have a big challenge looming tomorrow afternoon however as they travel to La Salle to face the Black Knights team they bested in last year’s KASSAA championship. Friday’s match could be an early preview of this year’s finals as well.
“You have to do the little things right,” Dunleavy said of facing the Black Knights. “Yes winning feels good, but it’s the process. If we sort of lose sight of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, then things don’t go our way.”
Meanwhile NDSS junior boys dropped to 1-1 on the year following a 19-5 home loss against La Salle on Tuesday. Napanee had opened the year with a 36-0 win over KCVI on Friday.
The senior team fell to La Salle by an identical 19-7 score and are now 1-2 on the season.
They topped KCVI 36-5 last Friday on the turf at Queen’s Nixon Field for their first victory of the year.