EDMONTON – The University of Victoria Vikes defeated the Calgary Dinos 12-5 in the first place game, winning the inaugural Canada West Rugby Sevens Series Sunday afternoon in the Dome at Foote Field.
The Vikes went a perfect 5-0 during the round robin portion of the first-ever event, including a 17-5 win over the Dinos in the final round robin game on Sunday afternoon.
“We have a lot of depth on our team and the squad we chose for this tournament was a mix of experience and new players, all of whom had been performing well in the trial games leading up to this weekend,” said Vikes head coach Brittany Waters. “I was really pleased with everyone’s ability to commit to the game plan and improve throughout the tournament.”
Similar to Victoria, Calgary entered the final round robin game undefeated, before losing consecutive games to the Vikes to finish second overall. With the tournament win, the Vikes earn ten points in the overall standings, which will determine a series winner after the third and final tournament in Vancouver. With their second place standing, the Dinos earned eight points.
“Both the tournament and facility were awesome. It was run really well and I think this whole Canada West series is going to be great,” said Waters. “Our team played consistently all weekend, which is a strength of ours. We have a lot of great athletes, and we played like a team, which made the difference for us.”
The host Alberta Pandas went 3-2, before beating the Lethbridge Pronghorns 24-17 in the third place match to earn six points. The 1-4 UBC Thunderbirds and 0-5 UFV Cascades met in the fifth place match on Sunday, as UBC was able to secure its second 40-0 win of the day over their provincial rival to finish fifth overall.
The first place game seemed destined for overtime, with the two teams playing a hard-fought and defensive minded final.
Jess Neilson started the scoring for Victoria in the opening minute, with her second try of the weekend. The Vikes held the 5-0 lead until midway through the second half, as Vanessa Graham evened the match with a 15 yard dash. However the Vikes were able to score on the final play of regulation, as Stephanie Black burst through the Dino back-line for the tournament winning score.
“We improved with every game. We know how to swing the ball wide and work together; it was really nice to come out with the win.” said third-year Vike Madeleine Graham, who finished the weekend with four tries and one convert. “Our team had some nagging injuries all weekend, so it was nice to overcome those.
“The Olympics brought a lot more exposure to the sevens game, which is great. Having this kind of tournament were we can showcase our skill across Western Canada is a big asset for us.”
The three-part Canada West Rugby Sevens series will shift to Vancouver for the February 4/5 weekend, before the Victoria Vikes host the final tournament on February 18 and 19.
“We will look to build off our successes from this weekend, as well as learn from our mistakes,” said Waters. “We have set the bar high this season but we are committed to putting in the hard work and putting in back to back strong performances.”
Game 11: Victoria Vikes (22) vs. Lethbridge Pronghorns (5)
VIC: 12-10: 22
LET: 0-5: 5
LET try – #8 Nicole Ronsky (convert missed) – 12-5
VIC try – #7 Madeleine Graham (convert missed) – 22-5
Game 15: Victoria Vikes (17) vs. Calgary Dinos (5)
VIC: 5-12: 17
CGY: 5-0: 5
CGY try – #14 Maddy Loader (convert missed) – 5-0
VIC try – #16 Stephanie Black (convert missed) – 5-5
First Place Match: Calgary Dinos (5) vs. Victoria Vikes (12)
CGY: 0-5: 5
VIC: 5-7: 12
VIC try – #10 Jess Neilson (convert missed) – 5-0
CGY try – #23 Vanessa Graham (convert missed) – 5-5
VIC try – #6 Stephanie Black (#9 Angela Thompson convert) – 12-5
W L T Pts.
VIC 6 0 0 24
CGY 4 2 0 18
ALB 4 2 0 18
LET 2 4 0 12
UBC 1 5 0 9
UFV 0 6 0 6
NOTE: Teams are awarded 4 pts. for a win, 2 pts. for a draw, and 1 pt. for a loss.
Overall series standings