May 29th, 2024

Pronghorns ready to duel with the Dinos in rematch

By Dale Woodard on October 8, 2021.

The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s rugby team is on the cusp of a Canada West post season berth.

Still, they know it won’t be handed to them on a silver platter.

And they definitely know today’s opponent won’t mail it in either as the Pronghorns get set for a rematch against the Calgary Dinos this afternoon at 5 p.m. at the University of Lethbridge Stadium.

After their win over the Alberta Pandas last weekend that improved them to 2-1, clinched them the Suggitt Cup and put them in position to grab a playoff spot, the Pronghorns face a Dinos crew who handed Lethbridge their sole loss this season, a 12-6 setback Sept. 24 in Calgary.

If they don’t clinch today, it won’t get any easier for the Pronghorns with a trip to the west coast next weekend to round out the regular season.

“We have a tough draw,” said Pronghorns head coach Graeme Moffat at practice Thursday afternoon. “We play (tonight) and then we play Thursday in Vancouver and then next Sunday in Victoria. “We have a lot of stuff on the go, so we’re excited to get going. We almost have a full roster. Unfortunately, Charlie Mitchell tore her MCL and ACL in the preseason, so we’ve lost her. But otherwise we have a full roster to select from.”

Today’s game will also serve as Seniors Night for graduating Horns playing their final home game.

As well, a special fundraiser, the Bo Smith Co. Childhood Cancer Awareness night – named after Pronghorn Karlee Durfey’s three-year-old niece who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two – will take place with funds raised going to children and families affected by childhood cancer.

A little payback will also be on the slate following the Horns close loss to the Dinos in Calgary two weeks ago.

“They’re probably really well-prepared in term of their analysis of their performance,”said Moffat. “It was a close game. We were obviously disappointed with how we performed that day. We don’t think we really hit our stride. The girls are excited. Obviously, with us beating the Pandas on the weekend, that almost secures us a place in Canada West. So we really want to get the win here in front of our home crowd. The last time was my first experience here and it was awesome. The crowd was loud and rowdy and we hope we get a bit more of that (tonight).”

Durfey will be one of those seniors honored at tonight’s game, but she will also play for her niece.

“My niece, Bo Smith, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two,” said the fourth-year product of Raymond.

“So through that my sisters and I have created a non-profit where we sell embroidered apparel and all the money goes back to kids and families who have been going through children with cancer and we’ve also donated to other causes.”

And today, the Bo Smith Co. Childhood Cancer Awareness night will take the pitch.

“They (family) will be at the game and Bo will be walking onto the field with us and presenting the game ball as well. I’ve told her and I think she’s pretty excited. She’s into rugby now. She likes being in the spotlight, so she’ll be great,” said Durfey. “We’ll have gold T-shirts that say “Go for Gold for Childhood Cancer” with a bunch of names on the back of childhood cancer fighters. They’ll be sold for $20 and we’ll be wearing them for warmup and so will Calgary. There will also be a 50-50 raffle.”

There will also be a chance for redemption against the Dinos.

“I think we’re very excited to have another shot at them, especially at home as well,” said Durfey. “Moff has been preparing us since we played them. I think it’ll be a good game, I’m excited.’

“It’s a bitter/sweet game, I’m a senior so it’ll be my last home game and also I’ll get to do this for my niece.”

They lost the 2020 season to COVID-19, but Durfey said it’s nonetheless been a great four-year run with the Horns.

“Obviously, last year was unfortunate that we didn’t get to have a season, but the years before that have been great,” she said. “I’ve very glad I chose to stay close to home. All my family is from here, I come from Raymond. It’s been good.”

However, Durfey is in the present this afternoon with a key win up for grabs.

“We always say it’s a sprint, but it’s a short sprint. We have a few months where we go like crazy and it’s over after that. So I’m excited to keep going and looking forward to our next game.”

Proof of vaccination or a negative rapid test with government issued ID is required to attend Pronghorn home games.

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