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Highlanders girls’ rugby team preparing for first game at home

By: Lucas Punkari

  |  Posted: Thursday, Aug 07, 2014 10:28 am

(Top) Airdrie Highlanders female rugby team Coach Andy Lister (left) watched as Alicia Bowman worked on her throwing technique during a team practice at East Lake Park on July 29.
(Top) Airdrie Highlanders female rugby team Coach Andy Lister (left) watched as Alicia Bowman worked on her throwing technique during a team practice at East Lake Park on July 29.
Lucas Punkari/Rocky View Publishing

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After weeks of getting its game plan set in practices, the Airdrie Highlanders women’s rugby team is getting ready for its first game.

The Highlanders girls’ squad will officially begin its competitive schedule on Aug. 15 at George McDougall High School at 7 p.m., when it will take on the Calgary Rams in a 15-a-side contest.

“Ever since the men’s team started playing here in Airdrie back in May, a lot of people have been asking us when the ladies will be playing, and now it’s almost here,” Highlanders winger Alicia Bowman said.

“To have the first competitive game be at home is going to be great, as it’s always nice to have that support,” Highlanders Captain Andrea Colson added.

“We’ve been doing our run-throughs here in practice for the last couple of weeks, and I think we’re ready to get things going.”

Airdrie residents Tiff Mochinski and Andy Lister are the co-head coaches for the Highlanders women’s team, which was founded in December of 2013.

“When (club founder) Tim Van Vliet had the idea to start the club last year, part of the vision was to have a women’s side to go along with the men’s team,” Mochinski said.

“We’ve had our numbers grow to where we have 18 players now, and that has allowed us to schedule that first full game.”

“Other than our captain Andrea, the rest of the team hadn’t played in a long time or had never played rugby before,” Lidster added.

“The girls have progressed really quickly and they’ve gotten a handle on the sport in a short amount of time though, and that’s been great to see.”

The women have had a taste of competitive action already, as they competed in the Stampede Seven’s tournament on July 5 in Calgary, where it finished with a 0-3 record.

“Our overall record wasn’t the most important thing for us in that tournament,” Lidster said. “Our main goal was to see how the girls played, and they adapted really well to facing much stronger and more experienced teams.”

“That tournament really helped us out to get a better idea of what things are like in a game when compared to a practice,” Bowman said.

“We were all pretty worn out by the end of the tournament, but we learned that we need to be in top physical shape for when we play our first league game.”


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