X-Women looking for repeat performance

260
logo stfx

Michel Belanger – (ISN)

OTTAWA (CIS) – The St. Francis Xavier University X-Women better bring their “A” game to Peterborough, Ont., this week if they hope to repeat as Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s rugby champions.

The 2011 CIS national championship, hosted for the second straight year by Trent University, gets under way Thursday at Justin Chiu Stadium and culminates Sunday at 2 p.m. with the gold-medal final. All nine games from the tournament will be webcast live by SSN Canada.

Joining Atlantic conference champ StFX in its quest for the Monilex trophy are the tourney host Trent Excalibur, as well as the Lethbridge Pronghorns (Canada West champs), Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ champs), Guelph Gryphons (OUA champs) and McMaster Marauders (OUA silver medallists).

StFX will compete with Lethbridge and Trent in Group A in the preliminary round and is scheduled to open its title defence against the Excalibur on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Lethbridge will face the loser of the opening-day match-up on Friday and the winner on that game on Saturday.

In Group B, Laval and McMaster face off Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Guelph takes on the loser Friday and the winner on Saturday.

The first-place finishers in groups A and B advance straight to the gold-medal final. The second-place teams will battle for bronze, while the last-place finishers play for fifth.

A year ago, StFX claimed the second Monilex trophy in school history thanks to a thrilling 17-12 overtime win over Concordia in the championship match.

Led by league MVP Tyson Beukeboom, the daughter of former NHL player Jeff Beukeboom, the X-Women have been as dominant as ever this season, going 6-0 in conference play before capturing their 14th straight AUS banner with a 60-0 rout of Acadia in the Atlantic final. In early October, the defending CIS champs also travelled south for a pair of exhibition contests, which they easily won over Brown (70-0) and Army (82-5), the NCAA champions last year.

However, Mike Cavanagh, in his 13th year as head coach at StFX, knows the road to a third CIS title won’t be an easy one as the other conference champions, Lethbridge (6-0), Guelph (8-0) and Laval (8-0), also enter the national tournament with unblemished marks. In addition, McMaster (7-1) was undefeated prior to the OUA final, while Trent (3-3) is enjoying the best campaign in school history.

“We are looking forward to trying to defend our national title,” says Cavanagh, who leads a program that has captured every AUS title since women’s rugby made its CIS debut back in 1998. “We know there will be no easy games over the course of the championship and we are going to focus on one game at a time. It should be a great four days.”

In 2010, the X-Women blanked Trent 37-0 in their CIS tourney opener but barely edged Guelph 18-17 in their second outing to advance to the title match.

While StFX was bullying its AUS opponents this fall, Guelph was equally as dominant in Ontario, actually finishing with better team statistics than the X-Women. Led by 2010 CIS player of the year Jacey Murphy, the Gryphons outscored their rivals 453-8 in league play and 142-12 in three playoff duels, including a 36-5 victory over McMaster in the OUA final.

The Gryphons, who won the inaugural CIS banner back in 1998, are hungry for more CIS gold after settling for bronze each of the past four years.

“I’m really proud of the effort we put forth and it was great to win our fourth straight conference title in front of our hometown fans,” said head coach Colette McAuley following the OUA championship game. “We are expecting a challenge with tough competition at the CIS tournament but hope our team can make a run at the title.”

In Canada West, Lethbridge claimed a sixth straight conference crown with a convincing 41-0 shutout over Alberta in the title match. After winning three CIS banners in a row from 2007 to 2009, the Pronghorns settled for fourth place at last year’s national tourney, losing 10-8 to Guelph in the bronze-medal game.

In Quebec, Laval outscored Concordia, the 2010 national finalists, 43-27 in a wild RSEQ final to earn its first invitation to the dance since 2008. The Rouge et Or, who are only in their seventh year of existence, are looking to capture their first CIS crown.

“The Quebec conference can be a volatile one. Every final we’ve played since 2006 has got its own storyline but I think this one will inspire us to perform at our highest level yet at CIS Nationals,” says Laval head coach Bill McNeil, whose troops finished fourth (2008) and sixth (2006) in their two previous appearances.

McMaster is back among the CIS elite this season, 13 years after losing 15-10 to Guelph in the inaugural Monilex trophy final in 1998.

Trent had its best campaign ever this fall with a 3-2 conference record and an appearance in the OUA quarter-finals, where the Excalibur lost a heartbreaking 14-10 overtime decision to Queen’s, last year’s Ontario finalist. The tournament hosts went 0-3 a year ago in their first CIS championship appearance.

Official championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wrugby/index

TEAM PROFILES

POOL A

St. Francis Xavier X-Women (AUS champions)

Head Coach: Mike Cavanagh (13th season)

Regular season record: 6-0

Regular season standing: 1st AUS

Playoff record: 1-0

Playoff finish: AUS champions

Final Top 10 ranking (Oct. 25): No. 1

Best Top 10 ranking (8 weeks): No. 1 (all 8 polls)

Number of weeks in Top 10 (8 weeks): 8

Conference award winners: Tyson Beukeboom (MVP), Mike Cavanagh (coach)

Conference all-stars: Asya Bartley, Tyson Beukeboom, Olivia DeMerchant, Lisa Gauthier, Jamee George, Magali Harvey, Beth McNeill, Amanda Thornborough

CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 14

CIS championship all-time record: 18-25-3 (.424)

CIS championship best result: 2-time champions (2010, 2006)

CIS championship last appearance: 2010 (champions)

CIS championship sequence: 14th appearance in 14 years

Lethbridge Pronghorns (Canada West champions)

Head Coach: Neil Langevin (12th season)

Regular season record: 4-0

Regular season standing: 1st Canada West

Playoff record: 2-0

Playoff finish: Canada West champions

Final Top 10 ranking (Oct. 25): No. 3

Best Top 10 ranking (8 weeks): No. 3 (5 polls)

Number of weeks in Top 10 (8 weeks): 8

Conference award winners: Kelsey Willoughby (MVP), Kayla Moleschi (rookie)

Conference all-stars: Kelsey Willoughby, Kayla Moleschi, Brandi Van Eeuwen, Laura Murphy-Burke, Juhee Thompson, Cassandra Orr

CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 7

CIS championship all-time record: 16-7 (.696)

CIS championship best result: 3-time champions (2009, 2008, 2007)

CIS championship last appearance: 2010 (fourth place)

CIS championship sequence: 6th straight appearance (7th in 8 years)

Trent Excalibur (championship hosts)

Head Coach: Nancy Marcotte (9th season)

Regular season record: 3-2

Regular season standing: 3rd OUA Russell Division

Playoff record: 0-1

Playoff finish: Lost in OUA quarter-finals

Final Top 10 ranking (Oct. 25): Unranked

Best Top 10 ranking (8 weeks): Unranked all season

Number of weeks in Top 10 (8 weeks): 0

Conference award winners (Russell Division): Nancy Marcotte (coach)

Conference all-stars (Russell Division): Ashley Burton, Kaitlin Newton, Lauren Wizowski

CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 2

CIS championship all-time record: 0-3 (.000)

CIS championship best result: 6th (2010)

CIS championship last appearance: 2010 (sixth place)

CIS championship sequence: 2nd straight appearance

POOL B

Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ champions)

Head Coach: Bill McNeil (7th season)

Regular season record: 6-0

Regular season standing: 1st RSEQ

Playoff record: 2-0

Playoff finish: RSEQ champions

Final Top 10 ranking (Oct. 25): No. 4

Best Top 10 ranking (8 weeks): No. 3 (3 polls)

Number of weeks in Top 10 (8 weeks): 8

Conference award winners: Karen Paquin (MVP), Dominique Laliberté-Martineau (rookie), Sarah Boudreau-Turpin (student-athlete – community service award)

Conference all-stars: Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid, Mackenzie Stairs, Stéphanie Bernier, Charlotte Vallières-Villeneuve, Karen Paquin, Onienté K. Laflamme, Claudiane Renaud

CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 3

CIS championship all-time record: 1-6 (.143)

CIS championship best result: 4th (2008)

CIS championship last appearance: 2008 (fourth place)

CIS championship sequence: 3rd appearance in 6 years

Guelph Gryphons (OUA champions)

Head Coach: Colette McAuley (5th season)

Regular season record: 5-0

Regular season standing: 1st OUA Shiels Division

Playoff record: 3-0

Playoff finish: OUA champions

Final Top 10 ranking (Oct. 25): No. 2

Best Top 10 ranking (8 weeks): No. 2 (all 8 polls)

Number of weeks in Top 10 (8 weeks): 8

Conference award winners (Shiels Division): Jacey Murphy (MVP), Brittany Priddle (rookie), Colette McAuley (coach)

Conference all-stars (Shiels Division): Britt Benn, Caitlin Beaton, Caitlin McNally, Stephanie Tibelius, Jacey Murphy, Brittany Priddle

CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 12

CIS championship all-time record: 21-20-2 (.512)

CIS championship best result: 1-time champions (1998)

CIS championship last appearance: 2010 (bronze medallists)

CIS championship sequence: 7th straight appearance

McMaster Marauders (OUA finalists)

Head Coach: Cameron Mitchell (1st season)

Regular season record: 5-0

Regular season standing: 1st OUA Russell Division

Playoff record: 2-1

Playoff finish: OUA finalists

Final Top 10 ranking (Oct. 25): No. 5

Best Top 10 ranking (8 weeks): No. 5 (last 5 polls)

Number of weeks in Top 10 (8 weeks): 7

Conference award winners (Russell Division): Cindy Nelles (rookie)

Conference all-stars (Russell Division): Natasha Turner, Cindy Nelles, Varsha Tripathi, Kim Ngai, Maggie Cogger-Orr

CIS championship appearances (including 2011): 2

CIS championship all-time record: 3-1 (.750)

CIS championship best result: Silver medallists (1998)

CIS championship last appearance: 1998 (silver medallists)

CIS championship sequence: 1st appearance since 1998

MONILEX TROPHY CHAMPIONS (Inaugural championship held in 1998)

2010 StFX

2009 Lethbridge

2008 Lethbridge

2007 Lethbridge

2006 StFX

2005 Western Ontario

2004 Western Ontario

2003 Alberta

2002 Alberta

2001 Alberta

2000 Alberta

1999 Alberta

1998 Guelph

CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE

Wednesday, Nov. 2

18:00 All-Canadian Awards Banquet (Great Hall, Champlain College, Trent University)

Thursday, Nov. 3

10:30 Round-Robin Pool A: StFX vs. Trent (SSN Canada webcast)

13:30 Round-Robin Pool B: Laval vs. McMaster (SSN Canada webcast)

Friday, Nov. 4

10:30 Round-Robin Pool A: Loser Pool A #1 vs. Lethbridge (SSN Canada webcast)

13:30 Round-Robin Pool B: Loser Pool B #1 vs. Guelph (SSN Canada webcast)

Saturday, Nov. 5

10:30 Round-Robin Pool A: Winner Pool A #1 vs. Lethbridge (SSN Canada webcast)

13:30 Round-Robin Pool B: Winner Pool B #1 vs. Guelph (SSN Canada webcast)

Sunday, Nov. 6

10:00 5th place: Third place Pool A vs. third place Pool B (SSN Canada webcast)

12:00 Bronze medal: Second place Pool A vs. second place Pool B (SSN Canada webcast)

14:00 Championship final: First place Pool A vs. first place Pool B (SSN Canada webcast)

Your sports. Your teams. The ISN Daily Digest.

Sign up to the ISN Daily Digest and sit back while we pick the previous day’s best headlines and speed them straight to your inbox every morning.
Email address
First Name*
We abide by all applicable emailing laws including 100% CAN-SPAM/CASL/US CAN-SPAM Act compliance. No spam!