A welcoming, friendly and eye opening experience is all within what three Lake City secondary graduates are calling a new family with the University of Acadia Axewomen’s rugby team.
Emma Pfleiderer, her twin sister, Laura Pfleiderer, and Natasha Johnson were back in B.C. this week to visit with family and friends following the U Sports (formerly CIS) National Championship tournament at the University of Victoria Nov. 3-6.
The trio and the Axewomen qualified after finishing second following the regular season playoffs in the Atlantic University Sport conference.
The girls’ season came to an end following a 24-5 consolation loss to the McMaster Marauders on Nov. 6 at Wallace Field.
And despite not winning a game at nationals, the Axewomen put in a full game effort against the No. 1-ranked team in Canada to end the season.
“That last game, everyone was playing like they wanted to win,” Laura said.
“Even though we lost, I felt good about that game,” Emma added. “We put in 110 per cent.
“For being such a young team and having so many rookies, we played really well and created a strong bond. Everyone is improving so much.”
The trio, who all earned starting positions with the team in their rookie seasons, all plan on returning back next year. Another Williams Lake graduate on the team, Skye Forcier, was forced out of action early in the season with an injury.
“I had originally planned to just come out here for eight months,” Johnson said. “But with how well our team clicked, we’ve only been apart about 48 hours now, and I miss them all.”
Johnson, meanwhile, was selected as an AUS all-star for her season where she tallied eight tries in six regular season games.
“Winning an AUS all-star was huge for me and makes me feel like I want to stay in this league a bit longer,” she said.
Likewise, Laura said she’s excited to spend the next four years at Acadia as a member of the team.
“That’s pretty certain,” she said. “I realized rugby doesn’t have to stop here and there’s a lot more to be played.”
With the season over, the players will now turn their attention to academics, along with strength and cardio workouts five days a week for two hours.
Both Laura and Emma are taking courses in Environmental Sustainability Studies, while Johnson is pursuing a Sports Psychology and Community Development degree.