Gee-Gees gallop past Martlet ruggers in sudden-death semifinal

Suchorski & Della Porta battle the Gee-Gees for the ball

OTTAWA — The fourth-seeded McGill University women’s rugby team saw their hopes dashed for a return to the CIS championship with a 38-20 loss to the league-leading Ottawa Gee-Gees at Matt Anthony Field in the nation’s capital, on Saturday.  

Caroline Suchorski, a science senior from Kirkland, Que., who led the league with 91 points in seven games, was the top scorer again for the Martlets in the RSEQ conference sudden-death semifinal. She tallied 15 of her team’s 20 points with one try, two penalty goals and a pair of converts.

Ottawa led 16-0 by the 32nd minute mark of the first half but the Martlets closed the gap to 16-13 with Suchorski and Bianca Della Porta each scoring a try, followed by a Suchorski penalty kick and convert in the last five minutes of the half.  

The Gee-Gees found their footing in the second half, however, scoring 19 consecutive points before the Martlets’ put on a late game push with Suchorski carrying the ball across the line for a converted try, reducing the margin to 35-20 with just five minutes to go. 

Ottawa weren’t ready to give up however, adding a penalty kick with two minutes remaining, to extend their advantage to 28 points. 

“At the end of the game we showed our character by mounting a comeback but it was too little too late and the game ended with us right on their try line, unable to score,” said McGill head coach Matt Stephens

Stephens was pleased his team’s efforts and attitude but admitted that on this day, the Martlets didn’t have what it takes to earn a berth in the RSEQ final, scheduled for Oct. 25 in Ottawa. The Gee-Gees will host third-seeded Concordia — which upset second-seeded Laval 30-19 in the other semfinal — for a berth in the CIS national championships at Guelph, Ont.

The Martlets finished with a 5-6 record overall, including 4-3 mark in regular season play.

Among the seniors who are expected to graduate but still have eligibility remaining are Suchorski and Della Porta, along with  Erica Saabas, Emily Barber, Marie-Helene Laforest and Emily Lai.