The MSS Panthers hosted their final Rugby 7’s home game for the season on Wednesday, May 11. The team played their final three games at the former Coquihalla Middle School before heading into the playoffs on May 18.
While beating Okanagan Mission Secondary School 27-0, the Panthers subsequently fell short against Mount Boucherie Secondary School (5-14) and Rutland Secondary School (10-19).
“Everybody makes the playoffs,” Coach Molly Brigden explained.
“All 8 teams make playoffs and we will look at the standing over the next two weeks. The top 4 teams will attend provincials.”
The rugby provincials will be held in Abbotsford on June 1 and 2.
Unfortunately the team will have to take to the field next Wednesday without two of their senior players. Rachael Smith suffered from a season-ending MCL/ACL tear and Hannah Ellingsen is still in recovery from her knee injury. The team is hopeful to see Ellingsen on the field again before the season ends.
“She might make it to provincials if we go that far,” said Brigden. “Our fingers are crossed but we’re not 100 percent sure yet.”
This is the first year of the MSS Rugby 7’s program. With the lifting of restrictions, spring sports came back to the Merritt high school.
“Spring is the only season for BC high school sports that we did not have games for two years because of COVID.” said Gian Cavaliere, Athletic Director and Vice Principal at MSS.
“We’re just really excited that sports are back this spring season. We are also excited to have our fields to play the games on because we lost them in the flood.”
Brigden made note that Rutland Secondary School might be the toughest challenge they face in the playoffs. The Panthers have lost all three games they played against Rutland this season.
“All of our games have been really close,” said Brigden. “I believe we have the potential to beat them so we’re looking forward to meeting them in the playoffs.”
The team finished their season third in the standings with a record of 7 wins and 4 losses. They are scheduled to play in Rutland Secondary School facing the same teams they did this past Wednesday.
“We’re super excited, they have come so far in just one season,” said Brigden.
“They’ve learned a lot and we have a lot of raw talent in our team so we are excited to see where we would place next week.”