Marking the first time the community fielded two girls rugby teams, Carihi hosted Timberline in a match earlier this month.
The two schools have formed a combined team early on but had enough girls to put together a team for each school to play 12 aside with substitutes on April 3.
In the end, Carihi got the 31-17 win over Timberline, though the match was tied at 17 with only 15 minutes left.
Carihi tallied tries by Kayla Christensen with two, Rowen Flood, Abigayle Underhill, Valery Williams and three conversions from Sophie Taylor.
Timberline tries came from by Ronja Pitters intercepting the ball, Kirsten Caley and Caileigh Alexander, with a convert from Emily McCulloch. McCulloch is actually a Carihi player who was filling in for the Timberline fullback, Chloe Lawrie, who is coming back from an injury. She stopped more than her share of Carihi tries with outstanding tackles.
“Both teams are becoming more confident,” says coach Erin Young, adding that the players are carrying the ball forward into contact by fending off tacklers and maintaining a strong fast running gait.
The kicking game has improved immensely, as shown by the points gained through conversions as well as more consistent restart kicks that allow the kicker’s teammates to either contest the ball or close down space and make a hard tackle on the opponent catching the ball.
Guest coach Kara Galbraith, recent University of Victoria women’s rugby captain, has also been working with a number of girls on their techniques.
The two schools will join forces to play outside the community. Coaches will be encouraging the players to be more aggressive after a tackle when the ball is available to be won through rucks.
“We aren’t doing enough of that yet,” Young says. “It’s a hard and gritty part of the game but as soon as they get rewarded a few times with possession we feel it will happen more consistently.”
She also gives credit to the three assistant coaches, Carihi teacher Matt Moore, and Timberline teacher James Lewis, community volunteers Jessica Leck and Kevin Quin as well as referee, Phoenix teacher Mike Munsie.
“They are energetic, positive, dedicated and we wouldn’t have had the growth that we’re currently experiencing without them,” Young adds.