2013 AUS women’s rugby Awards and All-Stars announced

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October 25, 2013, CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I (ISN) – Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2013 women’s rugby major award winners and all-stars as selected by the conference’s five head coaches following the regular season.

Third-year Acadia fullback/fly-half Emilie Chiasson has been named the Atlantic University Sport most valuable player. She is the first Acadia student-athlete to earn the honour since 2005.

Other AUS major award winners announced tonight at the AUS awards banquet hosted by the University of Prince Edward Island were Acadia’s Laura Klingenberg of South Bruce Peninsula, Ont., who was named rookie of the year; St. Francis Xavier X-Women centre Vanessa Duffley of Belleisle, N.B., who received the student-athlete community service award; and Acadia Axewomen head coach Matthew Durant, who was named the AUS coach of the year for the second time in his career.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Emilie Chiasson, Acadia

Atlantic University Sport women’s rugby’s 2013 most valuable player is Emilie Chiasson (Ottawa, Ont.) of the AUS first-place and CIS No. 7-ranked Acadia Axewomen.

Chiasson recently set a new AUS record for most points scored in a single regular season with 174 points in eight games. She topped the record of 145 previously held by StFX’s Magali Harvey.

This is Chiasson’s second consecutive year being named to the AUS all-star team. She is also a three-time CIS academic all-Canadian.

A fourth-year science student in her third year of eligibility, she led the conference in tries this season with 40 and was second in conversions with 37.

Now Acadia’s all-time leading scorer, Chiasson has scored 261 points in her career to sit fourth in AUS women’s rugby career scoring. She trails former StFX X-Women standouts Ghislaine Landry (352 points), Courtnay Malcolm (346 points) and Magali Harvey (303 points) on the AUS all-time list.

“Emilie has been consistently our strongest player since she joined the team as a rookie. She is the hardest working woman on our team and sets a tremendous example with her actions,” said Axewomen head coach Matthew Durant. “She is comfortable, confident and extremely effective in many positions on the pitch. She is very fast and sees the field tremendously well, making those players around her better every time she’s takes the field.”

Chiasson led the Acadia Axewomen to a 7-1 season record, which included a 44-13 season-opening win over the reigning CIS champion StFX X-Women. For her part, she contributed a try and a conversion in the historic victory which marked the first time an AUS team had toppled StFX in regular season action since 2004.

Chiasson is also the first Acadia student-athlete to earn women’s rugby most valuable player honours since Andrea Burk earned the award in back-to-back years in 2004 and 2005.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Laura Klingenberg, Acadia

Laura Klingenberg of the Acadia Axewomen is the 2013 Atlantic University Sport women’s rugby rookie of the year.

A native of South Bruce Peninsula, Ont., Klingenberg scored 11 tries in eight regular season games for the Axewomen. She finished the season tied for second in team scoring and fifth overall in the AUS conference.

“Laura entered our program with a rugby IQ much higher than a typical rookie. She is an extremely selfless player and is largely concerned only with team success,” said Axewomen head coach Matthew Durant. “She is a pleasure to coach. She has blazing speed and is an incredible counter-rucker. Laura will be a key leader in our success moving forward in the coming years.”

Klingenberg becomes the third consecutive AUS rookie of the year selected from the Axewomen. Acadia’s Maddie MacKenzie and Deidre Rees were named the conference’s top rookies in 2012 and 2011, respectively.

Former StFX standout and CIS player of the year Ghislaine Landry is the last Atlantic conference player to be named CIS rookie of the year in 2006.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Matthew Durant, Acadia

For the second time in his four-year career as the head coach of the Acadia Axewomen program, Matthew Durant has been chosen by his peers as the Atlantic University Sport women’s rugby coach of the year.

Durant previously won the award in his first year as Acadia head coach in 2010.

This season, Durant guided the CIS No. 7-ranked Axewomen to a 7-1 record and their most impressive season to date. His 2013 squad compiled 581 total points made up of 38 conversions and a league-leading 101 tries, good for the second most points in the conference after StFX with 616.

Durant’s Axewomen allowed only 47 points against in eight regular season games.

Since 2010, Durant’s career record now stands at 19-9-0 in AUS regular season play. He has a 22-15-0 overall record including AUS playoff and CIS championship contests.

His team has competed in the AUS championship final each year since he assumed the post four seasons ago, a feat the Axewomen had been able to accomplish only once in 2003 prior to Durant’s leadership. Last year marked their first ever trip to the CIS championship.

This weekend, the No.1-seeded Acadia Axewomen will travel UPEI where they will look to earn their first ever AUS women’s rugby championship banner and the lone AUS slot in this year’s CIS women’s rugby championship hosted by Laval.

“The common denominator in Acadia women’s rugby elevating to a national caliber program is Matt Durant,” said director of athletics at Acadia, Kevin Dickie. “In all my years as a coach and athletic director, I’ve not met anyone with more love and passion for their sport. Matt’s been relentless in his belief that we could pursue excellence in Acadia rugby, and I could not be happier for him and his team.”

Currently an associate professor in the school of nutrition and dietetics at Acadia, Durant has an extensive background in rugby as a player and administrator.

A former player with the Valley Bulldogs RFC, he captained the Bulldogs to three McCurdy Cup (NS Premier Division) championships as well as the Maritime Premier Division Caledonia Cup championship in 2008.

Named the Nova Scotia Premier Division League MVP in 2005, Durant also captained the Nova Scotia Senior Keltics in the Rugby Canada Super League in 2006 and 2007. He was also president of the Valley Bulldogs RFC for seven years prior to his appointment as president of Rugby Nova Scotia which he held from 2007 to 2013.

To date, Mike Cavanagh of the StFX X-Women is the only AUS head coach to be named CIS coach of the year. He was first awarded the honour in 2001 and earned the title once again in 2012.


The 2013 student-athlete community service award recipient is Vanessa Duffley of the CIS defending champion St. Francis Xavier X-Women.

Duffley, a fourth-year centre from Belleisle, N.B. is involved with numerous extra-curricular and volunteer activities at StFX.

The human kinetics honours student volunteers with the university student food resource center, the X-Out Bullying program, the ‘Active Kids, Active Minds’ program and X-Project, travelling off-campus to local communities to work with school children to improve their literacy skills.

Duffley has also lent her time to the annual Tim Horton’s Cup Full of Care fundraiser for the local hospital foundation, has been a greeter at the annual X-Ring ceremony and has been involved with the X-Athletes for Charity event, raising money for local youth sporting organizations.

When she returns home each spring, she coaches the Belleisle Regional High School girl’s rugby team, putting in numerous hours each week to instill the love of rugby in young girls from a small town.

A veteran leader on the X-Women squad, Duffley is the public relations coordinator for the StFX Athletics Student-Athlete Leadership Team and has been enrolled in the StFX Leadership Academy since its inception last season.

A two-time national champion, she has also been named to the 2013 AUS all-star team.

Duffley excels in the classroom, having been ranked first overall in the bachelor of human kinetics program last year. Since 2010, she has been on the Dean’s List and has been named a CIS academic all-Canadian.

The last StFX women’s rugby player to win this award was Jamee George in 2010.


The 2013 Atlantic University Sport women’s rugby all-stars were also announced Friday evening. They are as follows:

  • Front row: Riley Kitchin, Acadia (2nd year – Mount Uniacke, N.S.)
  • Front row: Tasha McKenzie, StFX (1st year – Indian Brook, N.S.)
  • Front row: Catharine MacKeigan, StFX (2nd year – Toronto, Ont.)
  • Second row: Allison Jordan, Acadia (5th year – Fall River, N.S.)
  • Second row: Emma Taylor, StFX (4th year – Scotsburn, N.S.)
  • Back row: Jorie Rose, Saint Mary’s (4th year – Souris, P.E.I.)
  • Back row: Janna Slevinski, Acadia (3rd year – St. Albert, Alta.)
  • Back row: Miranda Sample, StFX (1st year – Havelock, Que.)
  • Scrum half: Emily Keen, UPEI (1st year – Marshfield, P.E.I.)
  • Fly half: Emilie Chiasson, Acadia (3rd year – Ottawa, Ont.)
  • Centre: Jean Baker, Saint Mary’s (3rd year – Argyle Shore, P.E.I.)
  • Centre: Vanessa Duffley, StFX (4th year – Belleisle, N.B.)
  • Winger: Maddie MacKenzie, Acadia (2nd year – Peterborough, Ont.)
  • Winger: Lauren Agnew, StFX (2nd year – Stittsville, Ont.)
  • Fullback: Megan Thorpe, UPEI (1st year – Kennebecasis Valley, N.B.)

The 2013 Subway Atlantic University Sport women’s rugby championship is taking place this weekend at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

The four-team tournament kicks off Saturday at noon and concludes Sunday at 2 p.m. with the championship final.

Competing for the Birks Memorial Trophy at UPEI Alumni Canada Games Place will be the Acadia Axewomen (7-1, first place), the defending champion StFX X-Women (7-1, second), the Saint Mary’s Huskies (4-4, third place) and the UPEI Panthers (2-6, fourth place).

Note: The Acadia Axewomen and StFX X-Women tied with identical 7-1 records, however Acadia finished in first place based on point differential in head-to-head play. The two teams split their season series 1-1, but Acadia had a point differential of +24 in the two games, so they will be the top seed for this weekend’s championship.

All games of the championship will be available via webcast at www.AUStv.ca.

The Subway AUS women’s rugby championship schedule is as follows:

Saturday, October 26

Semifinal #1: UPEI (4th) vs. Acadia (1st), 12 p.m.

Semifinal #2: Saint Mary’s (3rd) vs. StFX (2nd), 2 p.m.

Sunday, October 27

Championship: Semifinal #1 winner vs. Semifinal #2 winner, 2 p.m.

The 2013 CIS women’s rugby championship is scheduled for Oct. 31 – Nov. 3 and will be hosted by Université Laval at Stade Telus in Quebec City, Que.

Note: The winner of the Subway AUS women’s rugby championship will be the only AUS team to advance to the 2013 CIS championship.

2013 AUS women’s rugby final standings:


2013 AUS women’s rugby final statistics: http://www.atlanticuniversitysport.com/sports/wrugby/stats/2013_leaders 

For more information on the 2013 CIS women’s rugby championship, please visit the official website at: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wrugby/index