A quintet of former Lake City Falcons girls’ rugby players are making a name for themselves at the varsity level in Nova Scotia.
Natasha Johnson, Emma Pfleiderer, Laura Pfleiderer and Skye Forcier all earned spots on Acadia University’s Axewomen squad, while speedster Carleigh Walters is suiting up for the X-Women of St. Francis Xavier.
Both teams compete in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) division and have been hammering their opponents through three games so far this season.
Walters and the X-Women are a perfect 3-0 and ranked fourth in the country following a 130-5 win over Saint Mary’s, a 38-19 victory against Acadia and a 49-10 blasting of the University of Prince Edward Island.
Acadia’s only loss to St. Francis Xavier has been offset by a 79-0 shutout of Dalhousie and an 84-0 drubbing of Saint Mary’s.
While a long way from home, all of the girls said they’re settling in nicely at their respective schools, and enjoying their time playing the sport they honed on the pitch at LCSS and at the provincial level with BC Rugby.
“It’s a big change going from small town rugby and even B.C.-level rugby to playing at a university level,” Walters said. “This is definitely my first time playing at this high of a calibre, but everyone on the team has been very welcoming and encouraging and I’ve already learned a lot.”
X-Women head coach Mike Cavanagh said Walters has been a welcome addition to the club, and adds much-needed speed to the team, which he noted they were lacking last season.
Laura, meanwhile, said when they first arrived on campus it was a bit intimidating, however, added they quickly found comfort with their new teammates.
“We didn’t know anyone and were the first girls to arrive,” Laura said. “On the first day of training camp coach Matt Durant established that seniority will not get you a spot on the team and that it’s fair game for all of us rookies.
“Once the team was finalized we all gelled great and immediately felt like a family. Our veterans are very welcoming.”
Johnson, Laura, Emma and Forcier will meet Walters and the X-Women this Sunday, Oct. 2 in a rematch.
“Playing a varsity sport takes a lot of time and commitment but each player on the StFX rugby team is devoted to making a difference on and off the field,” Walters said.
Laura noted having her high school teammates and twin sister, Emma, there with her has been a welcome treat.
“Us girls from Williams Lake have been very fortunate to receive starting positions every game,” Laura said.
“Playing with Emma, Skye and Natasha not only helps with being homesick, but helps with all our performances on the field.”