Game 1 Pool A CIS women’s rugby championship: Mustangs upset defending champ Alberta in tourney opener

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Courtesy of University of Guelph Athletics / Photo credit Karen Stepien

GUELPH, Ont. (CIS) – The CIS women’s rugby championship got underway Thursday morning with an upset of the defending national champions. The sixth-seeded Western Mustangs took down the top-seeded Alberta Pandas 22-19 in the Pool A opener at the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium.

The Mustangs got off to a great start, highlighted by a huge interception by Tegan Williams (Blenheim, Ont.) at midfield. Williams raced down the sideline with support close behind and after a series of good offloads, Dagmar Wallsten (Mount Albert, Ont.) was able to score the try.

The Mustangs then increased their lead to 12-0 on a try and convert by fullback Breanne Nicholas (Blenheim, Ont.) but, after a slow start, the Pandas would answer with 19 unanswered points.

Some strong forward play led to a pair of tries from Stacie Becker (Sturgeon County, Alta.) which gave the Canada West conference champions a 14-12 lead at halftime.

Much like the opening 40 minutes, the second period would produce more back-and-forth action. After the two teams exchanged tries, by Sabrina Kelly for Alberta (unconverted) and Dagmar Wallsten for Western (converted), things were tied up at 19-19 setting the stage for some late dramatics.

Nicholas missed a penalty kick from 35 metres out, but was awarded a re-kick due to movement from Alberta’s backline. She split the uprights on her second attempt for three points to put Western up 22-19.

That would prove to be the final points scored in the match, as the Mustangs were able to hold off the Pandas attack the rest of the way.

After the game, Western head coach Natasha Wesch said, “We tried to block out all distractions, put aside the fact that they were the defending champs and just play rugby. It was a real team effort today and I am really proud of our team.”

Although Alberta head coach Matt Parrish was disappointed in his team’s performance, he was optimistic about the Pandas chances going forward.

“Western did a good job adapting to our game plan, and I have to give them credit for that. We hope to improve upon our penalty count and missed opportunities going into our next game.”

With the win, the Mustangs are now off until Saturday, when they will play the AUS champion StFX X-Women. As for the Pandas, they will be back in action Friday at 10:30 a.m. when they take on StFX in the second and final contest of the preliminary round.

SCORING SUMMARY

WES 12-10: 22
ALB 14-5: 19

First half
WES – Ashley Snider try (conversion no good) (WES 5 – ALB 0)
WES – Breanne Nicholas try (Breanne Nicholas convert) – (WES 12 – ALB 0)
ALB – Stacie Becker try (Rebecca Fairbairn convert) – (WES 12 – ALB 7)
ALB – Stacie Becker try (Rebecca Fairbairn convert) – (WES 12 – ALB 14)

Second half
ALB – Sabrina Kelly try (conversion no good) – (WES 12 – ALB 19)
WES – Dagmar Wallsten try (Breanne Nicholas convert) – (WES 19 – ALB 19)
WES – Breanne Nicholas penalty kick – (WES 22 – ALB 19)

Players of the game
WES: Dagmar Wallsten
ALB: Amanda Smith

Legend:
Try: 5 points
Penalty goal: 3 points
Convert: 2 points

POOL STANDINGS, SCHEDULE & RESULTS

POOL A GP W L T PF PA Pts
Western 1 1 0 0 22 19 4
StFX 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Alberta 1 0 1 0 19 21 1
POOL B GP W L T PF PA Pts
McMaster 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ottawa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Guelph 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

NOTE 1: A win is worth 4 points and a tie 2 points.
NOTE 2: 1 bonus point is awarded for scoring 4 tries or more in a game.
NOTE 3: 1 bonus point is awarded for a loss by 7 points or less.

Thursday, Oct. 30
10:30 Pool A: Western 22, Alberta 19
13:30 Pool B: McMaster vs. Guelph (CIS-SIC.tv)

Friday, Oct. 31
10:30 Pool A: Alberta vs. StFX (CIS-SIC.tv)
13:30 Pool B: Loser (McMaster-Guelph) vs. Ottawa (CIS-SIC.tv)

Saturday, Nov. 1
10:30 Pool A: Western vs. StFX (CIS-SIC.tv)
13:30 Pool B: Winner (McMaster-Guelph) vs. Ottawa (CIS-SIC.tv)

Sunday, Nov. 2
10:00 Fifth place: 3rd Pool A vs. 3rd Pool B (CIS-SIC.tv)
12:00 Bronze medal: 2nd Pool A vs. 2nd Pool B (CIS-SIC.tv)
14:00 Championship final: 1st Pool A vs. 1st Pool B (CIS-SIC.tv)

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 www.cis-sic.ca or follow us on:

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-CIS-

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