CIS women’s rugby: Western’s Josephson named player of the year


GUELPH, Ont. (CIS) – Lori Josephson, a fifth-year scrum-half from Western University, was named CIS player of the year in women’s rugby, Wednesday night.

Josephson, a native of Beaverton, Ont., became the second Western standout to merit the national MVP award since the sport made its CIS debut back in 1998. Former Mustangs great Barbara Mervin was honoured in 2005.

Other winners announced during the All-Canadian Gala at the Holiday Inn hotel in Guelph were Laval fly-half Anne-Charlotte Beaulieu, who was named rookie of the year; UPEI wing Shanda Mosher-Gallant, who received the Student-Athlete Community Service Award; and Ottawa head coach Jennifer Boyd, who earned the Jim Atkinson Award.

The 2014 CIS championship kicks off Thursday at Alumni Stadium and concludes on Sunday with the gold-medal final at 2 p.m. All nine games from the six-team tournament will be webcast live on

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Lori Josephson, Western

Josephson put an exclamation point on a stellar CIS career this season, earning a second consecutive all-Canadian nod, as well as a spot on the OUA Shiels Division all-star team for the third straight campaign.

The senior scrum-half placed third on the Mustangs in scoring with 25 points – off of five tries – in five league games. Thanks in large part to her exceptional performances, Western is set to compete at the CIS championship for the first time since 2009.

Along with her play for the Mustangs, Josephson has represented Canada on the international stage, including a gold-medal win at the 2013 U20 Nations Cup with the national under-20 team.

“Lori is an outstanding athlete and individual. Her desire for excellence, work rate and work ethic are characteristics found in the world’s best athletes,” said Western head coach Natascha Wesch. “It has been an honour and pleasure to work with Lori these past five years. She is considered among the best athletes to have come from the Mustangs rugby program and continues to turn heads in the rugby world.”

St. Francis Xavier second row Emma Taylor, Concordia centre Alexandra Tessier and Alberta wing Alanna Fittes were the other nominees.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Anne-Charlotte Beaulieu, Laval

A member of the Quebec provincial team, Beaulieu had a spectacular first season with the Rouge et Or. She is the first Laval player to merit CIS rookie-of-the-year honours.

The Quebec City native finished second in the RSEQ conference scoring race with 84 points off of four tries, 29 converts and two penalties. She was selected as her team’s game MVP in two of seven league contests.

The fly-half – who also handles kicking duties for Laval – had her best performance on September 20th, when she set a single-game school record with 38 points against Bishop’s.

“Anne-Charlotte is a focused player with excellent skills and exceptional field vision. Her cool head makes her a good decision-maker as well as a consistent goal kicker when under pressure,” said Laval head coach Bill McNeil. “Her tactical sense allows her to make the right choices with the ball in hand or off the foot and in defence where she is an efficient tackler.”

Joanna Alphonso of StFX, Nikki Case of Western and Elysa Sandron of Calgary were also in the running.


Mosher-Gallant is the first player from UPEI to be honoured with the award since its inception in 2009.

A fourth-year science student in her third year of eligibility, Mosher-Gallant spearheaded the creation of a Rookie Rugby program in western Prince Edward Island this past summer. Rookie Rugby is Rugby Canada’s non-contact introduction to the game that is implemented in schools and communities across Canada for boys and girls of all ages.

The 5-foot wing from Wellington, P.E.I., single-handedly approached the City of Summerside to secure funding and approached other local businesses to financially support the program. She was also responsible for marketing and advertising the program, which ultimately had 30 participants. Further to that, she contributed $500 of her own money to purchase equipment for U12 and U10 participants.
Because of her efforts, P.E.I. was able to host its first-ever mini rugby game following a senior men’s game in late August.

Mosher-Gallant has level one coaching certification and attended Rugby Canada’s Rookie Rugby training sessions in Halifax in October.

“PEI has a small population of 145,000 people and promoting and retaining rugby players here is very challenging,” said UPEI head coach Shannon Atkins. “Shanda saw the need in her community to engage young athletes in this dynamic sport and jumped at the chance to offer children the opportunity to play a sport that has been so good to her. She is an innovator and giver. I feel that she is one of those great people that you get to have in your life.”

Afton Maisonneuve of Ottawa and Claudia DiFrancesco of Queen’s were also nominated.

JIM ATKINSON AWARD (coach of the year): Jennifer Boyd, Ottawa

The first uOttawa recipient of the Jim Atkinson Award, Boyd led her team to a perfect 7-0 league record in her second season at the helm. The Gee-Gees, who went on to capture the first RSEQ conference title in program history, were especially dominant on defence during the regular season, allowing a CIS-low 7.1 points per game.

Boyd began her coaching career at Ottawa’s Ashbury College, where she teaches mathematics and science, in 2000. Since then, she has grown her resume to include assistant coaching with the U20 national team. She has no less than 21 championships to her name as a coach with Ashbury, the Ontario U19 program and the Ottawa Irish Rugby Club.

The NCCP level three certified coach was named the OCAA Coach of the Year in 2012. She is also a two-time winner of the Ottawa Sports Award for Female Coach of the Year.

Boyd earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Bishop’s University, where she played with the Gaiters for four seasons, and then enrolled at the University of Ottawa for her Bachelor of Education, playing her final CIS campaign with the Gee-Gees. She also wore the Maple Leaf over a span of three years, earning caps against New Zealand, England, the USA and Scotland.

“We are very proud of what Jennifer has accomplished in less than two years with our program, but it should not surprise anyone who knows her and her history of success throughout her career in women’s rugby in Canada,” commented uOttawa director of sports services, Luc Gélineau. “Her enthusiasm and commitment to the student-athletes has created a very positive culture and that leads to success both academically and athletically.”

StFX’s Mike Cavanagh, York’s Joe Costello and Alberta’s Matt Parrish were named coach of the year in the other CIS conferences this season.


The all-Canadian team was also announced on Wednesday.

Joining conference MVPs Josephson, Taylor, Tessier and Fittes on the 15-member all-star squad were Queen’s teammates Lauren McEwen (centre) and Gillian Pegg (hooker), York’s Dorrian Khouri (lock), McMaster’s Cindy Nelles (number 8), Guelph’s Brittany Priddle (flanker), Carleton’s Natasha Smith (back), Laval’s Camille Provençal-Aubé (second row), Calgary’s DaLeaka Menin (prop), UBC’s Gabrielle Hindley (fullback-second row), Victoria’s Laura Crowe-Hutchon (flanker) and Acadia’s Janna Slevinski (back row).

Taylor, Nelles, McEwen and Slevinski, like Josephson, were honoured for the second straight season.

Nelles (2011) and Menin (2013) are former CIS rookies of the year.


Player of the year: Lori Josephson, Western
Rookie of the year: Anne-Charlotte Beaulieu, Laval
Student-Athlete Community Service award: Shanda Mosher-Gallant, UPEI
Jim Atkinson Award (coach of the year): Jennifer Boyd, Ottawa

All-Canadian Team

Pos.-Athlete-University-Year- Hometown-Academics

SH – Lori Josephson – Western – 5 – Beaverton, Ont. – King’s College
LK – Dorrian Khouri – York – 3 – Brampton, Ont. – Kinesiology & HS
No. 8 – Cindy Nelles – McMaster – 3 – Belleville, Ont. – Civil Engineering
F – Brittany Priddle – Guelph – 4 – Badjeros, Ont. – Geography
C – Lauren McEwen – Queen’s – 4 – Wasaga Beach, Ont. – Fine Art
HK – Gillian Pegg – Queen’s – 3 – Oro-Medonte, Ont. – P&H Education
C – Alexandra Tessier – Concordia – 2 – St. Clothilde de Horton, Que. – Math & Stats
B – Natasha Smith – Carleton – 2 – Ottawa, Ont. – Psychology
SR – Camille Provençal-Aubé – Laval – 1 – Sherbrooke, Que. – Nursing
W – Alanna Fittes – Alberta – 4 – Rimbey, Alta. – PE & Recreation
P – DaLeaka Menin – Calgary – 2 – Vulcan, Alta. – Arts
FB/S – Gabrielle Hindley – UBC – 5 – Guelph, Ont. – Science
F – Laura Crowe-Hutchon – Victoria – 5 – West Vancouver, B.C. – Science
SR – Emma Taylor – StFX – 5 – Scotsburn, N.S. – Business Admin.
BR – Janna Slevinsky – Acadia – 4 – St. Albert, Alta. – Kinesiology

About Canadian Interuniversity Sport

Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Every year, over 11,500 student-athletes and 700 coaches from 56 universities and four regional associations vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit or follow us on:



Scott Harrigan
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