The MSS Panthers girls rugby team took it on the chin last Wednesday, losing to the visiting Penticton Lakers 43-0. It was the Panthers’ second loss in as many starts this season.

The double-A Merritt Secondary squad was simply no match for the much-bigger triple-A team from the Okanagan. The Panthers were unable to gain much possession time at all, as their smaller forward pack was consistently beaten off the ball in hard-fought scrums, rucks and mauls.

The MSS side also had difficulty containing the Lakers’ imposing outside centre, Kendra Penner, as the hard-charging back broke numerous open-field tackles en route to scoring four tries.

Despite the one-sided loss, Panthers head coach Molly Brigden was upbeat about her team’s effort.

“I thought that our girls played a lot better in this game compared to our last. They did everything that we taught them in practice. They played hard.”

Brigden conceded that injuries took their toll on her young squad.

“We had several girls get banged up,” she said, “and one, Haley Bennett, will be out for at least one game with a concussion.”

The MSS coach remains optimistic going into this week’s rematch with the Valleyview Vikings, a team the Panthers lost to in their season opener three weeks ago.

“For the game against Valleyview, we need to work on our quickness on the field and on our ability to read what is coming next. We commit too many players to rucks and end up with an overlap that other teams capitalize on. Our backs need to work on carried out their planned plays. We have the talent and the ideas; we just need to put it all together.”

The MSS senior girls’ next home game is on April 29 when they host Lillooet at 4 p.m. at Voght Park.