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Rugby Axewomen top Huskies 82-10, Merilainen adds 4 tries to win

Rugby Axewomen top Huskies 82-10, Merilainen adds 4 tries to win

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Senior forward Emilie Merilainen scored a team high 4 tries in the Axewomen's 82-10 season opening win over the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies.

Merilainen, who was named the Subway Player of the Game for her effort, posted three of her four tries in the opening half.

2018 AUS women's rugby MVP Laura Pfliederer hammered home the opening try at the three minute mark and added the conversion. Four minutes later teammate Amanda Jardine pushed the lead to 12-0 and Merilainen scored her first of the afternoon.

First year Axewoman Grace Pinch had two tries in the opening half, while veterans Monique Coffey and Sophie Pickard each added two in the match.

Briana Willis scored the Huskies' lone try of the opening half with six minutes remaining in the opening frame.

Merilainen closed the first half with a try in the closing seconds. The Axewomen closed the first half with a 53-5 lead.

Pickard opened the second half followed by Merilainen's fourth and final try. Pickard repeated before Huskie Katherine Fairbrother scored the second and last try for Saint Mary's.

With a 70-10 lead after Fairbrother's try, the Axewomen extended the lead with a try by Katya Dondi and rookie Mychael Paris that was converted by Sara Grant.

Laura Pfliederer finished with four conversions and veteran Annie Kennedy added one on Pickard's second try.

"It felt awesome. It felt good to be back on the field with a lot of return players but also with a lot of very good up and coming new rookies and second years that I haven't played with. It is definitely worth coming back for a fifth year. It's been a while since I have played, but I loved it," noted Merilainen.

"Some real positives were team cohesion especially in the backs, we have very dynamic ball and we worked together really well. A lot of our plays we executed," added Merilainen.

Katherine Fairbrother was named the Saint Mary's Player of the Game.

The Axewomen host UPEI Panthers next Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. The Panthers topped the defending 2019 AUS Champions StFX 38-31 in opening weekend action. The Huskies travel to StFX next Saturday for a 3:00 p.m. start.