Tiger girls rugby: Right where they left off | SummitDaily.com

Tiger girls rugby: Right where they left off

BRYCE EVANS
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorao

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

FARMER’S KORNER – With less than two minutes remaining, the Tigers had their backs to the endline and were desperately trying to hang on. One player after another from Douglas County gained possession and plowed into the Summit defenders.

And each time, the Tigers turned them back.

An endline tackle from senior Emmy Griffith, a stripped ball from Hailey Curnnutte, and finally, the whistle blew for the Tigers.

Of course, this had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. The Tigers had a healthy 34-0 lead at the time.

What was at stake in the final minutes of Wednesday’s season-opener for the SHS rugby squad was their shutout streak – a streak that now stands at roughly 768 minutes, dating all the way back to the opening minutes of last fall’s opener.

“I think any other team might have just given up (and let them score), but it’s really important to us,” Griffith said. “So we just kept fighting.”

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That grit was something the Tigers showed from the opening kick all the way to the final whistle, giving them a dominating win at home despite having a number of key players out of the lineup.

“I think we did amazingly. We were short a bunch of people, and we were really nervous – or at least, I was really nervous,” said Griffith, who acted as captain in the absence of Alex Cooper and Heidi Gruber. “We all pulled through, though. We did an excellent job and worked as a team a lot.”

Aside from leading the Tiger defense from her fullback spot, Griffith also chipped in on offense with two tries.

Junior Kelly Joyce also had a pair of scores in the game, and junior Haley Anderson booted to conversions.

“I figured it would be tough, because obviously we had some big names out,” said head coach Karl Barth, who added that a number of players were kept out of the match for “some injuries and a couple other, um, team infractions.”

Regardless, Summit played up to its usual dominant standards.

The two-time defending state champs – who haven’t lost a game in Colorado high school play since the title tilt in 2007 – started right where they left off a season ago.

Despite being billed as a team built around speed, the Tigers showed a powerful presence early, pressuring Douglas County with early tackles and a few big hits.

Even Summit’s first try came on a very physical play. Senior Hannah Price, an all-state selection last year, plowed her way through a handful of defenders and carried one Douglas County player on her back to cross the endline.

Griffith, Joyce and Katie Peters all added tries before the break, while Douglas County was completely stymied on offense.

Really, the visitors never even sniffed pay dirt at The Mine until the closing minutes of the match. And even with a slew of freshmen on the field to close out the game for the Tigers, Summit held its ground.

“There were some very inexperienced players on the field at the end, and they did very well,” Barth said. “A lot of people stepped up and played some leadership roles.

“There were some just great games played by some players.”

The Tigers (1-0) should have the majority of their missing players back for next Wednesday’s game against Regis. The match is slated for a 6 p.m. start at The Mine.