CIS women’s rugby weekend roundup: Pandas win 3rd straight Canada West title

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OCTOBER 19

Saint Mary’s 0 StFX 115 Final

Source: StFX Sports Info

Antigonish, NS – The CIS No. 1 ranked StFX X-Women (6-0) defeated the Saint Mary’s Huskies (0-6) by a 115-0 score Sunday afternoon in the season finale of the AUS rugby season.

More than 100 fans turned out at Oland Stadium to watch 17 different X-Women score tries in the convincing victory.

“It was a great team effort,” X-Women captain Catharine MacKeigan (Toronto, ON) said after the match. “We wanted to come out hard and send a message heading into the playoffs.”

The X-Women led 72-0 at halftime, with 12 different players scoring tries in the opening half. By the 20-minute mark of the match, StFX led 36-0.

In the second-half, 10 substitutions hit the pitch for the X-Women.

Third year fly half Sabrina McDaid (Scarborough, ON) led the StFX scoring attack with 28 points. She two tries – one in each half – and booted nine conversions.

Off the bench, Erica Cranston (Dauphin, MB) also tallied two tries for the blue and white, both coming at the end of the game.

Scoring single tries in the first half of the game were Jaelei Meyer (Carlyle, SK), Brooke Newsome (Brantford, ON), Zahra Batool (Waterloo, ON), Mia Huysmans (Ponoka, AB), Joanna Alphonso (Ajax, ON), Emma Taylor (Scotsburn, NS), Miranda Sample (Havelock, QC), Breanna Allison (Cole Harbour, NS), Beckie Clark (Summerside, PEI), Anna Simonds (Saint John, NB), and Dani Robb (Shanigan Lake, BC).

Crossing rhe try line in the second half for single X-Women scores were Jenna Downey (Stratford, ON), Kaitlyn Van Steeg (Rothesay, NB), Ashley Brooker (Wolfville, NS), and Lauren Agnew (Stittsville, ON).

Second year prop Tasha McKenzie (Indian Brook, NS) was named the Subway player of the match.

Before the game, the X-Women rugby program honoured its fourth and fifth-year seniors, including Batool, Brooker, Downey, Huysmans, Robb, Taylor, Van Steeg, Brianna Graham (Canning, NS) and Caitlain Blanchard (Halifax, NS), who were playing for the final time at Oland Stadium.

The X-Women will vie for their 17th consecutive conference title at the 2014 Subway AUS Women’s Rugby Championship, which will take place October 25-26 at Acadia University in Wolfville.

“Everyone has been working really hard to get ready for playoffs,” MacKeigan said. “We have to be mentally ready; we have to continue to play our game – ‘simple’ rugby.”

StFX and Saint Mary’s, the first and fourth seeds, respectively, will square off in one semi-final, while the host and second seeded Acadia Axewomen and third seeded UPEI Panthers will clash in the other match on Saturday, Oct. 25th.

The winners will battle for the AUS title Sunday, Oct. 26, beginning at 3 p.m. The winner will advance to the CIS national championship slated for Oct. 30 – Nov. 2 at the University of Guelph.

Victoria 27 UBC 16 Final
Canada West Bronze Medal Game at Calgary
Alberta 19 Calgary 11 Final
Canada West Gold Medal Game at Calgary

Source: Matt Gutsch, Alberta Sports Info

CALGARY – For the third year in-a-row the University of Alberta Pandas rugby team are the Canada West champions, following a 19-11 victory in the 2014 gold medal game over the Calgary Dinos at McMahon Stadium.

The win represents Alberta’s 10th conference title in program history, and their third straight since 2012. The Pandas will now advance to the CIS championship tournament, to be hosted by Guelph, where they will look to win their second straight national championship trophy. The win was also a bit of redemption for the Pandas after losing 19-15 at home to Calgary, which represented Alberta’s first ever loss to the Dinos in program history.

Alberta jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on Sunday, getting a try from third-year Ashley Amson, while Rebecca Fairbairn, who led Canada West in points this season, knocked in the convert just three minutes into the match.

The lead held until Calgary’s Kate Scotland scored a penalty goal in the 16th minute, but Stacie Becker registered Alberta’s second try of the day just 14 minutes later to give the Pandas a 12-3 advantage.

The Dinos would add another penalty goal before half-time to make the first half score 12-6 for the Evergreen and Gold.

The second half was a tense affair, with neither side giving in, but Amee Svatos, the 2012 Canada West rookie of the year, cut through the tension like a hot knife when she notched Alberta’s third try of the game, which Alanna Fittes converted, giving the Pandas an insurmountable 19-6 lead.

Calgary, however, did make a game of it, scoring an unconverted try in the 80th minute, and then almost scoring again literally moment before the official blew the final whistle.

Fittes was named Canada West MVP after the match, while 11-year head coach Matt Parrish was named conference coach of the year. Four Pandas – Fittes, Fairbairn, Julia Goss and Liz Steele – were named to the conference all-star team as well.

OCTOBER 18

Queen’s 21 Guelph 29 Final
OUA Semi-Final

Guelph, Ont. – The Guelph Gryphon women’s rugby team defeated the Queen’s Gaels 29-21 on Saturday afternoon in an OUA semi-final matchup at Varsity Field. The Gryphons started the game looking for redemption after their OUA Championship loss against the Queen’s Gaels in 2013. Guelph would hold off Queen’s all-time high scorer Laura McEwan (Wasaga Beach, Ont.) and the rest of the Gaels until the mid-point of the first half. Queen’s would finally break through the wall of Gryphons to score their first try and a successful conversion to make it 7-0 in the first half. The Gaels would continue their momentum, pinning the Gryphons deep in their own territory searching for seven more points. Finally, Guelph would find the sidelines and use their speed to break past the strong Gael forwards and the goal line to get their first five points of the day, making it 7-5 in the first half.

The Gryphons would get pinned deep again, but another strong stand from the Gryphon defense and big runs from the Gryphon’s top scorer Jennifer Dunn (West Vancouver, B.C.) and first-year Kelsey Gsell (Saskatoon, SK.) would put Guelph up 12-7. OUA All-Star Shannon Spurrell (Haley Station, Ont.) would battle through the Gaels for another try late in the first half, making it 19-14 for Guelph moving into the break.

The cold rain would make accuracy a problem for both teams in the second half with consistent knock-ons forcing scrums and turnovers. The two evenly matched teams would battle defensively; putting up impressive goal line stands and big drives. It would be the Gaels who would open up scoring in the second half with a successful try and a conversion to make it 19-14 in the second half. It would be the last points they would put on the board for the day with the Gryphons adding an extra 10 after two big tries by Laura Van Bommel (Springfield, Ont.).

In the last five minutes of the game, the Gaels would try to overtake the Gryphons with a penalty attempt by McEwen, which would be just wide of the uprights. The key to winning for the Gryphons would be keeping possession of the ball for the rest of the game. They would be successful and beat the defending champions with a final score of 29-21.

After their win against the Queen’s Gaels, the Gryphons will now move on to the OUA Championship which will take place on Saturday October 25th, 2014.

Concordia 30 Laval 19 Final
Demi-finale RSEQ
McGill 20 Ottawa 38 Final
Demi-finale RSEQ

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s rugby team will host the RSEQ conference final for the first time in program history after defeating the McGill Martlets by a 38-20 score on Saturday afternoon.

Third-year prop Danielle Erdelyi scored two tries for the Gee-Gees, while Irene Patrinos was good on 7-of-9 kicks in the semifinal for 18 total points. McGill was powered by fourth-year centre Caroline Suchorski, who notched one try and two penalty goals along with two converts for 15 points.

The Gee-Gees grabbed hold of the lead thanks to a strong team push up the field, providing Patrinos with position to kick three straight penalty goals, the first of which came just over three minutes into the contest. McGill countered with a series of long offensive possessions but the garnet and grey defence stretched out to stop the Martlet advance well short of the danger area.

Erin van Gulik broke through with the first Ottawa try at the 32 minute mark, stretching the lead to 16-0 on a long run from near the centre field line, avoiding tackles to scamper into the corner of the end zone.

Just before half time McGill seized the momentum, blocking a pair of Gee-Gee kick attempts to gain position for a penalty goal. Suchorski then came right back at Ottawa, running straight through the defence before being stopped just short of the goal line. Bianca Della Porta eventually took a stretch pass across the line to make it 16-10 and Suchorski would add another penalty goal to make it 16-13 at half.

“We were on our heels, and we had stopped moving forward,” said Gee-Gees head coach Jen Boyd of the late scoring spree by McGill. “I’m really happy with our group defence other than our lack of focus for about ten minutes.”

Ottawa regained control in the second half when Natalie Palmer returned to the pitch from penalty and ran the ball through for a try following a strong rucking sequence. McGill tried to counter but a key defensive sequence by the Gee-Gees turned the Martlets away from within the 10 yard line.

The Martlets were kept off the board in the second half until there were just five minutes remaining in the contest. Erdelyi, who led a strong performance from the Ottawa forwards, notched two tries to spread the lead to 35-13.

“It’s a team effort,” stressed Erdelyi. “You get in good positions as a team and you can’t do it alone. I’m so proud of the girls. We were set back and said to ourselves ‘do we want it or not?’ and we turned it on.”

Ottawa will host the Concordia Stingers on Saturday, October 25 at 4:30 p.m., seeking the program’s first ever RSEQ championship banner and national championship berth.

UPEI 17 Acadia 43 Final

Source: Eric Cederberg, Acadia Manager, Events & Communications

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The Acadia Axewomen rugby team completed the regular season in a 43-17 win over the UPEI Panthers and posting only two losses – a 4-2 record with their two losses to StFX this season.

Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, the spot for second place was still up for grabs with a loss to the Panthers, the Axewomen could have mathematically fallen short of capturing second place.

However, today’s win against the Panthers clinched second place in the standings. StFX and Saint Mary’s will play the last game of the season tomorrow afternoon.

Acadia pulled out to a commanding 29-0 lead after one half of play on trys from Laura Fair, Shannon White, Janna Slevinsky and two from Shelaine Riehs.

While the Axewomen dominated most of the first half, UPEI did show spurts of scoring potential and it all came out in the opening of the second half when Niki Triantafillou scored the first of three second half Panther trys.

Closing the gap to 29-12 after the first five minutes of play when Rebecca Chapman added UPEI’s second try, Acadia responded 19 minutes into the second frame with Tamara Dondi’s first try of the season.

Traintafillou scored the third and last try by the Panthers, but Acadia still have a comfortable 36-17 lead before Subway Player of the Game Veronique Russell scored the final Axewomen try with 10 minutes remaining in the match.

As final standings unfold, the Axewomen will play UPEI again in the semi-finals while StFX and Saint Mary’s will play in the second semi-finals. Acadia will host the AUS championship this coming weekend with semi-final games played on Saturday, October 25 at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm and a championship game at 3:00 pm on Sunday, October 26. All games will be played on Acadia’s Raymond Field.

Western 10 McMaster 24 Final
OUA Semi-Final

Source: Bill Malley, McMaster Communications

Playing under the lights at Ron Joyce Stadium, the McMaster women’s rugby team advanced to the OUA Championship game with a 24-10 semi-final victory over the Western Mustangs, and in the process punched its ticket to the CIS National Tournament.

The start of Saturday night’s game was delayed, when it was discovered that Western had arrived without their uniforms and someone had to drive back to London to retrieve them. The delay didn’t seem to impact the Marauders who carried the early play and got on the scoreboard first on a try scored by Saffara Whiteley-Hoffelner, with Stephanie Black adding the conversion.

McMaster built the lead up to 17-3 in the opening half, with tries from Emily Ricketts and Cindy Nelles, while Western got a penalty goal from Breanne Nicholas.

The second half saw Western’s Lori Josephson cross the touchline, with Nicholas adding the conversion to creep within 17-10.

The Marauders were able to gain some space when Nelles scored her second try of the contest, with Black adding the convert to lead 24-10 which stood up as the final score.

McMaster will now face the Guelph Gryphons in the championship game on Saturday, October 25 at Ron Joyce Stadium, with a 4 p.m. start time. The two OUA finalists played to a 27-27 draw back on September 28th, but their next clash will decide the 2014 OUA champion. Guelph defeated last year’s champion Queen’s in the other semi-final.

By reaching the final, both McMaster and Guelph qualify for the CIS Championship Tournament being held at the University of Guelph, October 30th to November 2nd.

Because Guelph has qualified as an OUA finalist, the winner of next week’s OUA bronze medal match between Western and Queen’s will assume the host berth and also qualify for the Nationals.

OCTOBER 17

Victoria 19 Calgary 20 Final
Canada West Semifinal at Calgary
UBC 7 Alberta 37 Final
Canada West Semifinal at Calgary

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