CIS women’s rugby Saturday roundup: McMaster, Ottawa win conference titles


Photo credit Fraser Caldwell

Saint Mary’s 0 StFX 100 Final Recap | Recap
AUS Semifinal

Source: StFX Sports Info

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The CIS No. 2 ranked and first seeded StFX X-Women advanced to the Subway AUS women’s rugby championship game after a convincing 100-0 semifinal victory over the fourth seeded Saint Mary’s Huskies Saturday afternoon at Acadia University.

Subway Player of the Game Anna Simonds (Saint John, NB) scored 25 points including 10 conversions and one try, as the X-Women scored 100 unanswered points against the Huskies.

The X-Women also hit triple digits against the Huskies last weekend in a 115-0 victory in Antigonish during their final regular season meeting.

Four minutes into the semifinal game, center Breanna Allison (Cole Harbour, NS) scored on a converted try to give the X-Women an early 7-0 lead that would set the pace for the eventual win. Allison and Mia Huysmans (Ponoka, AB) both posted a team-high three tries apiece on the day.

Jenna Downey (Stratford, ON), Sara Gandy (Truro, NS) and Lauren Agnew (Stittsville, ON) each scored two tries for StFX. Single tries were tallied by Caitlain Blanchard (Halifax, NS), Ashley Brooker (Wolfville, NS) and Catherine Rutledge (Halifax NS).

The X-Women led 52-0 at halftime.

Amy Thompson (Halifax, NS) was named the Subway Player of the Game for Saint Mary’s.

X-Women head coach and recently named, AUS Coach of the Year Mike Cavanagh commented, “The girls played a good game and were stronger as the game went on. Full credit is given to Saint Mary’s for playing for a full 80 minutes.”

As the X-Women move on to the Subway AUS championship final with the convincing win, Cavanagh insists that his team takes each game seriously. “We try and play one game at a time. You can never afford to look too far ahead. We try to show respect to our opposition, whomever we play in the final it will be a tough game.”

The defending AUS champion StFX X-Women will meet the second seeded Acadia Axewomen in the final after Acadia’s defeated third seeded UPEI 39-12 in other AUS semifinal match.

The two teams met in last year’s final which required overtime to finish as StFX claimed a 19-12 win and their 16 consecutive AUS crown. The Axewomen are looking to win their first AUS title on home turf.

The regular season record between the two squads this year saw the X-Women claim a 45-17 victory at Acadia, followed by a 43-12 win at home. Game time on Sunday for the conference final is 3:00 pm at Raymond field.

UPEI 12 Acadia 39 Final Recap
AUS Semifinal 2

Source: Acadia Sports Info

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Seven different players scored for the Axewomen rugby team as they dropped UPEI 39-12 in the second of two semi-finals this weekend at the AUS Subway Women’s Rugby Championship hosted by Acadia.

The Axewomen entered the dressing room at halftime with only a 7-0 lead on a Kelsey Brumm try and converted by Erin Beazley 16 minutes into the game.

The Panthers played tough defense against the Axewomen who averaged 58 points versus UPEI this season, holding Acadia to seven in the first half and 39 for the game.

Axewomen head coach Matthew Durant complemented the Panthers effort. “UPEI played a solid game and they are one of the most physical teams in the conference”.

Durant also pointed out that his team played well and tough. “The game will prepare us for the championship matchup against StFX”, pointed out Durant. “I was impressed with our team’s toughness, playing through injuries during the game”.

Axewoman Kristine Lovatt, named the Subway Player of the Game for her effort, scored five minutes into the second half.

AUS All-Star Janna Slevinksky added another try four minutes later, but the Panthers would not give up, scoring their first try of the game. Alysha Corrigan scored the first of her two trys in the loss to the Axewomen. Corrigan was named the UPEI Player of the Game. Corrigan’s try was converted by Lauren Chamberlain.

Veronique Russell, Shannon White and Clarissa MacDonld scored one try each for the Axewomen with one converted before Corrigan added her second of the game – unconverted. With a 34-12 lead with three minutes remaining, Acadia added their last try of the day by Laura Klingenberg – unconverted to give the Axewomen a 39-12 win. Erin Beazley added two converts to the tally.

With the win, the Axewomen will advance to the championship game against the StFX X-Women for the fifth time in a row. Last year’s championship game was settled between both teams after two overtime periods with the X-Women retaining their title run.

Queen’s 19 Western 22 Final
OUA bronze

Source: Pam Bialik, Western Sports Info

LONDON, Ont. – Facing off for the second time this season, Western defeated Queen’s 22-19 in the OUA bronze medal game this afternoon at Alumni Field. In their first match-up earlier in the regular season, Queen’s had secured a 50-19 win at home over the Mustangs.

With the win, the Mustangs qualify for the CIS Women’s Rugby Champoinship hosted by the University of Guelph from October 30 to November 2.

“We changed our game plan,” says head coach Natascha Wesch. “Last time we tried to play with them and tried to compete with their size. Obviously that didn’t work, and we had to go with what was our style and our strength, and that’s speed and quick ball.”

Going into the game, Western stood at 2-3 in the regular season, with one win and one loss in the playoffs, while Queen’s had a 4-1 record with one win and one loss in the playoffs.

Breanne Nicholas was the first to add points to the scoreboard with a try six minutes into the game. Andrea Bowra followed up with a second try 15 minutes later, with a successful conversion from Nicholas.

Unwilling to allow another Gaels victory, Western defended the end line closely preventing tries just feet away from the end zone. The Mustangs continued to push through the Gael’s defense, with Nicholas scoring an additional try and convert before the end of the half.

With one minute left in the first half, Caitie Ryan surged through the purple and white defense to score the first try for Queen’s, bringing the halftime score to 19-5 in favour of the Mustangs.

Nicholas again opened up scoring in the second half with a well placed penalty goal. Lauren McEwan countered with a try and convert minutes later. McEwan later followed up with her second try and conversion of the night.

Nicholas was the high scorer of the night, being responsible for 17 points for the Mustangs from two tries, two conversions, and one penalty goal. Meanwhile fourth-year Queen’s student McEwan recorded two tries and two conversions for 14 points.

Next up, the Mustangs will travel to Guelph to compete in the CIS Women’s Rugby Championship, beginning on October 30.

Guelph 10 McMaster 19 Final Recap
OUA final

Source: Fraser Caldwell, McMaster Communications

HAMILTON, Ont. – While their captain looked on from the sidelines, the Marauders clinched the first OUA title in their program’s history.

Russell Division All-Star Cindy Nelles was ruled out after sustaining an injury in last week’s semifinal, but her team rallied in her absence and ground out a 19-10 victory over the Guelph Gryphons at Ron Joyce Stadium Saturday.

Maddy Seatle’s last-ditch try with just three minutes to play sealed the result for McMaster, as Colleen Irowa sprung free of the pack and launched the Marauders downfield before Seatle received the final pass and touched down.

Fullback Rina Charalampis and Sara Svoboda — who was wearing the number eight in Nelles’ place on Saturday — also had tries for the Marauders in the win.

Cara Humeniuk and Brittany Priddle had tries for the Gryphons in a losing effort.

It was a defensive contest on Saturday, and one in which McMaster absorbed intense pressure from their visitors.

That trend began early, as the Gryphons probed deep into Marauder territory in search of a try in the first 10 minutes. But McMaster’s defence was organized and resolute — as it would prove to be throughout Saturday’s contest — and the danger passed.

Instead, it was the Marauders who opened the scoring fifteen minutes from the opening whistle, as Charalampis found the final opening to slip over the end line and cap an extended drive with a try. Stephanie Black’s convert was good and pushed McMaster’s lead to 7-0 in the early stages.

The response was quick and decisive from Guelph, who struck just two minutes later when a McMaster miscue led Humeniuk to open space and a Gryphon try. Their convert attempt was no good, however, and the Marauders continued to lead 7-5.

Four minutes from halftime, the home side swung momentum again when the ball came loose of a ruck yards from the Guelph end line and Svoboda pounced to touch down. Black’s convert buzzed low of the uprights, and McMaster took a 12-5 lead into the break.

Guelph emerged with purpose in the second half, and pinned the Marauders deep in their end for much of the 40-minute period. But, much as they had in the first, McMaster’s defenders held the Gryphons at bay time and time again.

The pressure eventually paid dividends for Guelph when Priddle took a short pass out wide across the end line to cut the Gryphons deficit to two points. But the angle was challenging for the convert attempt, and it sailed wide to maintain McMaster’s lead.

With the Gryphons threatening to steal the game in the dying moments, the Marauders produced a breathtaking counter attack to put the match beyond reach.

McMaster received possession deep in their end, and swung a series of passes to the left that eventually sprung Irowa, who beat a would-be tackler and slashed well upfield. She was stopped as she crossed into Guelph territory, but the Marauders controlled the ruck well and kept the forward thrust moving. It was Seatle who received the last ball in reach of the end line, and out-ran the trailing Gryphons for the dramatic late score.

That seemingly took the steam out of the Gryphons, and the Marauders saw out the victory simply in the final minutes.

Concordia 5 Ottawa 13 Final
Finale RSEQ

Source: Jen Elliott, Ottawa Sports Information and Events Officer

OTTAWA – For the first time in uOttawa women’s rugby history, the Gee-Gees are RSEQ champions and will make their first ever appearance at a National Championship tournament. The no. 8 ranked Concordia University Stingers took their best shot at the no. 5 ranked Gee-Gees but were unable to capitalise in vital situations. The Gee-Gees secured their second half lead and ground out a 13-5 victory.

The scoreless first half was a seesaw battle as the ball went back and forth, with no team gaining a distinct advantage. The second was a different story however as the Gee-Gees finally struck when fourth-year scrum half Erin Van Gulik broke through the Concordia defence, bringing the ball up to the Stingers 20 yard line. Fourth-year fullback Irene Patrinos put her stamp on the game on the very next play as she punched the ball in for the score.

Following a situation that saw the Gee-Gees tack on three more points thanks to a Patrinos penalty kick, the Stingers were able to respond – scoring a try of their own and bringing Concordia within three points. As uOttawa began to gain momentum, rookie Courtney Mastine took matters into her own hands, running the ball through Concordia’s defence and into the end zone for a 40 yard run, giving the Gee-Gees a comfortable edge.

“The only thing going through my head was don’t stop, don’t fall just run the ball into the end zone for the score,” said Mastine “It’s so exciting to be a part of this. I have been in championship games and I have played a lot of rugby but there’s nothing I can compare to this. I have learned so much this year and have really developed as a player so I am incredibly fortunate to have been a part of this with this group of girls.”

“After the first it was still anyone’s game and scoreless so it keeps you on edge. As soon as we started to play slowly they would jump all over us and it really suited them. I knew if we were able to up the tempo and get thing going faster that I would make a difference for us. We did that and it resulted in a try for us and gave us some win security,” added Boyd.

Many Gee-Gees were recognized for their strong play this season in a post-game ceremony. Allison MacCormak was named RSEQ all-star for a fourth time in her career – a uOttawa record.

Afton Maisonneuve was recognized for her efforts off the field as she received the league award for Leadership and Community Engagement. Fourth-year Erin Van Gulik was also named a league all-star as she led the Gee-Gees offence from scrumhalf position.

“Winning this award definitely means a lot to me because I have put so much work into this season. To be honest, it’s team thing to me because my teammates allowed me to win this by making me look good. We have all put in so much work and so many girls on this team deserve to be recognized as well,” explained Van Gulik.

Jen Boyd was also recognized on Saturday as she was named RSEQ coach of the year after taking over a team which had struggled in past years and forming them into one of the league’s premier threats. “Other coaches in the RSEQ vote for the recipient of this award so it obviously means a lot to be recognized by peers,” said Boyd. “It shows that they respect the changes that Duncan [McNaughton] and I have made to this program so it’s a great feeling.”

The Gee-Gees now hold a perfect 9-0 overall record against RSEQ competition, which they will take with them into next week when they travel to Guelph, Ontario to take part in the CIS National Championship. Tournament seeding and schedules will be announced on Sunday night.

Scott Harrigan
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