StFX advances to final, sets up rematch with Guelph

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St FX

November 3, 2012, ANTIGONISH, N.S. (CIS) – The stage has been set for a rematch of last year’s national final between StFX and Guelph after the tournament host X-Women easily handled the Concordia Stingers 40-0 in the last round robin match of the CIS women’s rugby championship, Saturday afternoon at Oland Stadium.

Pool B winner StFX (2-0) and pool A first-place finisher Guelph (2-0) will battle for the second straight season in the Monilex Trophy final Sunday at 2 p.m. Atlantic Time. It will be the fifth consecutive appearance in the CIS championship for the X-Women, who were dominated 28-0 by the Gryphons in the 2011 title game.

Both schools have captured two CIS banners, StFX in 2006 and 2010, and Guelph in 1998 and 2011.

Concordia (1-1) will face Alberta (1-1) for CIS bronze Sunday at noon, while Queen’s (0-2) and Acadia (0-2) will battle for fifth place at 10 a.m.

Magali Harvey was the undisputed star of the round robin finale. The all-Canadian fullback from Quebec City accounted for 30 of the game’s 40 points, including all 23 points in the first 35-minute half. She finished the contest with three tries, a pair of penalty goals and two converts.

Team captain Asya Bartley of Ottawa and AUS all-star winger Lisa Gauthier from St. Bernadin, Ont., rounded out the scoring with one second-half try apiece.

The X-Women, ranked No. 1 in the country all season, dominated the play for the majority of the afternoon.

Bartley, a fifth-year veteran prop, garnered player-of-the-game honours and was happy with the performance of her teammates.

“Our team came out fired up, we gave our all from beginning to end and I was really proud of our team today.”

“We had team goals to be aggressive, come up hard on defence and just keep coming up and coming up, so we did that,” continued Bartley. “We wanted to play with the ball in their end, whether we were on offence or defence, and we did that.”

The first half of play was all StFX and all Harvey to the delight of a crowd of over 1300 hometown supporters.

In the opening three minutes of play, the X-Women were pressuring in the Concordia zone and the fans thought Amanda Thornborough of Brandon, Man., had scored a try but the Stingers defense kept her out of the end zone. On the ensuing play, Harvey kicked a penalty goal in the third minute to give the AUS champions a 3-0 lead.

The X-Women kept up the pressure, keeping the ball in the Stingers half of the field. The speed of Harvey gave the 2011 CIS silver medallists their first try of the game in the 10th minute. Her own conversion attempt was wide and X held an early 8-0 lead.

Harvey, a two-time CIS all-Canadian, added to the advantage with her second penalty goal of the game in the 17th minute, then followed up with her second try in the 25th minute.

Her second try was scored while Concordia flanker Liza Myers of Windsor, N.S., was in the sin bin after receiving a yellow card in the 24th minute of play. Harvey’s unconverted try came after the ball was won on an X-Women scrum deep in Stingers territory and passed across, eventually handed off to Harvey by Gauthier.

Harvey’s notched her third try in the 31st minute as the X-Women held the 23-0 advantage at half-time.

The second half saw the 15-time consecutive champions from the Atlantic conference continue their strong play as Bartley broke through in the 37th minute to run in a 20-yard try. Harvey made good on the conversion to increase the StFX lead to 30-0.

The Stingers had their best scoring chance in the 48th minute when fullback Jenna Giuliani of Chateauguay, Que., broke free of the StFX defence for a 40-yard run bringing the ball deep into X-Women territory. Concordia was unable to take advantage of the favorable field position, however, and the X-Women kept them off the score sheet.

The Stingers pressured again in the 53rd minute with a five-metre scrum, the closest they had been to the try line at that point in the game, but the StFX defense again pushed them back.

The heavy rain picked up in the second half, making the ball slick, but the X-Women were able to score another try in the 55th minute as it was once again Harvey coming up with the score, her fourth try of the game.

Gauthier rounded out the scoring with a try in the 65th minute.

Concordia Stingers head coach Graeme McGravie was obviously disappointed with the result, commenting, “Anytime you get the chance to play for a gold medal, you want to take full advantage of that.”

“We said at half time that we weren’t really upset that we were trailing, it was the way we were trailing. We just figured we weren’t being physical enough with them and that’s what we discussed before the game.”

“Sometimes you lose to better teams and I think today X had a gear that we couldn’t stop in the first 15 minutes, and at the end of the day, that was the difference.”

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