Storm post second consecutive undefeated season in Championship run

In the battle for the Judy Upward Trophy, SupHer Bowl Xll resulted in the Saint John Storm posting their second consecutive undefeated season. Once again, their only obstacle in hoisting the Trophy was the Capital Area (Fredericton) Lady Gladiators, led by star players such as Alex Black and Kristin Chatterton.

Rookie sensation Julie Rocca ran for daylight to provide the Storm with the game’s first lead. Returning after a year’s absence from MWFL football, Meghan Mullet converted on the point after attempt (PAT). The only touchdown scored in the first quarter, the Lady Gladiators would retaliate with an interception by Brianna Ford (with 3:09 remaining) that would build momentum heading into the second quarter.

Meagan Ferguson scored within the first minute of the second, as Brianna Ford converted on the PAT. With a strong defensive performance in the second quarter, the Lady Glads offense had the chance to break the 7-all deadlock before halftime. With 46.1 seconds left, Alex Black had a rouge for an 8-7 advantage.

The third quarter was defined by another solid performance by the Lady Glads defense, not allowing the defending champion Storm to get on the scoreboard. Brianna Ford would provide the heroics twice during the quarter. Intercepting a pass for the Lady Glads, with 2:03 remaining, she would also kick a field goal to extend their lead by four points, 11-7.

With an undefeated season slipping away, the Storm showed why they were the MWFL’s elite team. Remaining their composure, veteran player Bethany O’Toole managed to solve the Lady Glads’ punishing defense, breaking through for a touchdown score. Preceding the touchdown run, quarterback Trina Graves connected with fellow Team Canada alum Lori Boyles on a sterling 55-yard pass play.

From there, the tide began to turn in the Storm’s favour as rookie Lindsay McKinnon recovered a Lady Glads fumble less than two minutes later near the middle of the field. A 15-yard touchdown by Kait Girouard began to put the game out of reach.

Turnovers would plague the Lady Glads for the remainder of the quarter, as the ball was stripped on the subsequent drive as well. Mullet would recover the fumble and run it back 40 yards for the touchdown, providing her with the most memorable game of her comeback season, as the Storm prevailed in a 28-11 final.

“Fredericton had a great game plan to stop our long aerial attack but our ground game was equally strong and worked well. Our defense and special teams took over in the fourth and were the turning point that set up a 55 yard pass to Lori Boyles being stopped on the one yard line before we scored to go ahead,” stated Storm head coach Larry Harlow.

With 18 rookies on the Storm this season, their ability to contribute in key situations was testament to a strong team culture. With a superlative effort, the Lady Glads certainly earned respect, as a victory against them was very hard-earned. Taking into account that many Lady Glads and Storm stars shall call each other teammates with Team New Brunswick (led by Storm head coach Larry Harlow), such a great game is encouraging for a provincial squad looking to capture the Canadian Women’s National Championship in 2016.

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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