November 1, 2012, ANTIGONISH, N.S. (CIS) – Britt Benn, a fifth-year outside centre from Napanee, Ont., scored three tries to lead the defending national champion Guelph Gryphons to a 45-7 win over the Acadia Axewomen in the pool A opener of the CIS women’s rugby championship, Thursday morning.
“Acadia gave us a good run for our money for the first half,” commented Benn, a four-time all-Canadian who was announced as the CIS player of the year on Wednesday night. “Our coach gave us a bit a trouble at the break and we came back out and we played our game.”
“They definitely put up a defensive challenge for us, and they made us play defence a lot too,” continued Benn. “We weren’t panicking, we just decided we needed time to punch down the pedal, push through and play Gryphon rugby – playing as one and not individually, because at the end of the day individual efforts aren’t going to win the game.”
The Gryphons did get down to business, hitting the score board early in the game as Shannon Spurell from Haley Station, Ont., scored a try in the third minute. Stephanie Tebelius of Ottawa made good on the ensuing conversion to give the OUA conference champions a 7-0 lead.
Acadia came right back downfield and was pressuring inside the Guelph 22 metre line but was unable to score.
The AUS finalist Axewomen scored their first and only points of the game in the19th minute as they were awarded a penalty try after Gryphons prop Megan Lowry took down Allison Jordan and was sent to the sin bin, picking up a yellow card on the play.
Emilie Chiasson of Ottawa made good on the conversion as Acadia pulled even at 7-7.
The remainder of the game was all Gryphons as they went on to score another two tries in the first half and four in the second frame.
Guelph winger Dominique Monaghan of Markham, Ont., broke a couple tackles and ran down the sideline to score the Gryphons second try of the game in the 27th minute, then Benn registered her first in the 31st minute after picking off an Axewomen ball and running it in.
Tebelius made good on both conversion attempts to give the defending CIS champions a 21-7 halftime lead after 35 minutes of play.
Benn continued her scoring streak early in the second half as she broke down the sideline to score a try in the 36th minute. Tebelius’ conversion gave the Gryphons a 28-7 advantage.
All-Canadian lock Caitlin Beaton of Clavering, Ont., scored for the Gryphons in the 47th minute and Tebelius picked up her fourth conversion of the game.
The Axewomen had a chance to get back into the game as they were pressuring in the Guelph zone with 17 minutes to play and thought they had scored but the play was held up. Acadia then turned over the ball and was unable to mount any significant scoring attacks for the remainder of the contest.
Benn scored her third try in the 61st minute (no conversion) and center Samantha Roy of Moncton, N.B., rounded out the scoring with an unconverted try in the 65th minute.
Benn received the Gryphons player of the game nod for her efforts while Jordan, an AUS all-star lock from Fall River, N.S., was the game MVP for the Axewomen.
“I am really proud of my team, we came up hard, we knew they were a good team,” commented Jordan. They were second ranked in the country, but I think we came out showed that we were here to play and weren’t going to let them walk all over us.”
With the win the Gryphons (1-0) advance to play the Canada West champion Alberta Pandas on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Atlantic Time in their second and final pool A match, while the Axewomen (0-1) will meet the Pandas Friday at 10:30 a.m.
The first-place finishers in groups A and B advance straight to the gold-medal final, Sunday at 1 p.m. AT. The second-place teams will battle for CIS bronze, while the last-place finishers play for fifth position.
GUE 21-24: 45
ACA 7-0: 7
GUE – Shannon Spurell try (Stephanie Tebelius convert) 3rd minute
ACA – Penalty try (Emelie Chiasson convert) 19th minute
GUE – Dominique Monaghan try (Stephanie Tebelius convert) 27th minute
GUE – Britt Benn try (Stephanie Tebelius convert) 31st minute
GUE – Britt Benn try (Stephanie Tebelius convert) 36th minute
GUE – Caitlin Beaton try (Stephanie Tebelius convert) 47th minute
GUE – Britt Benn try 61st minute
GUE – Samantha Roy try 65th minute
Players of the game
GUE: Britt Ben (Napanee, Ont.)
ACA: Allison Jordan (Fall River, N.S.)