Pandas blank T-Birds in UBC's rugby opener
by Kevin Johns, UBC Sports Info Assistant
Alberta 10 UBC 0
Marlene Nedved (2)
VANCOUVER - Two tries by Marlene Nedved were the difference as the visiting No. 7 Alberta Pandas (2-0) defeated the UBC Thunderbirds (0-1) 10-0 in the host's 2009 Canada West season opener at Thunderbird Park.
The Pandas pressed early in the match and were rewarded for their persistence as an Alberta scrum deep in the UBC end resulted in the visitors having numbers off the left flank. The ball was swung to Nedved who crossed the line between the goal posts. A failed convert had the 2008 Canada West silver medalists ahead 5-0 thirteen minutes in.
The T-Birds looked to answer and carried the play for the remainder of the first half as they pushed for an equalizer. A hungry home side pinned the Pandas deep in their own end but could not find the end zone as some poor decision making prevented the 'Birds from equalizing.
"We should have done better in the first half as we had really good possession and a territory advantage. We didn't capitalize and I think that had to do with our situation recognition. Being the first game of the year and having a lot of young players in the lineup we didn't always makes the best choice in key situations," said UBC head coach Lesley McKenzie.
The pitch was slanted again in the second half, this time in favour of the re-energized Pandas. The T-Birds did well to weather the persistent attack but a tired home side was unable to counter and eventually let a second try through their defences as some missed tackling in the middle allowed Nedved to count again for Alberta to make the score 10-0 in the 70th minute.
"Playing against a bigger team begins to wear on you and you could really see that in the second half," added McKenzie. "Overall it was a good performance and we can build on this as we get ready for next weekend."
The Thunderbirds look to get in the win column next Friday, October 2nd as they host the Calgary Dinos at Thunderbird Park with kickoff slated for 5:00 p.m. Defending CIS champion, No. 1-ranked Lethbridge also comes to Vancouver with a game against UBC on Sunday (2:00 p.m.). Alberta is off until October 16th when they host the Dinos.