Agonizing defeat for Vikes in Canada West Championship

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CALGARY – The UVic Vikes women’s rugby team gave it everything they had but couldn’t topple the Calgary Dinos in a nail-biting Canada West Championship game played at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, AB on Oct. 22 that ended with a score of 26-21.

“I thought it was an excellent final and really showed the class and quality of the Canada West conference,” said Vikes Head Coach Brittany Waters. “It was a back and forth game, and credit to Calgary for that last-minute try. I really think it could have gone either way today and both teams played very well.”

The loss sees the rugby 15’s season come to an end for a Vikes team that battled hard from start to finish. Renee GonzalesTiffany Picketts and Jennifer Appleby scored the Vikes tries while Jess Neilsonwas 3-for-3 on converts.

After Appleby scored a try in the 71st minute and Nielsen booted the convert through, the Vikes took a 21-19 lead and looked to close out the final nine minutes. But with the wind at their backs, the Dinos pushed downfield and were awarded a scrum just metres from the try line as the clock ticked down its final seconds.

The first two Calgary attempts were stymied by the stifling Vikes defence, but the Dinos were awarded a third scrum on a penalty call. With zeros on the clock, Temitope Ogunjimi made a powerful play with the ball to dive past the try line, but was stopped just short. Rookie scrum half Seselja was able to capitalize, driving the ball in for the championship-winning points.

With wind gusts swirling around the stadium all afternoon, the Dinos got on the board first when Elysa Sandron produced a fantastic run from the 22-metre line. Sandron, then squeezed a very tough convert through the uprights into the wind to give Calgary a 7-0 lead.

The Vikes responded in the 31st minute, after sustained pressure, with great play by the Vikes forwards leading to a try from first-year Vike Renee Gonzales, and Nielsen’s convert tied it up at 7-7.

The tie score didn’t hold up long, as Ogunjimi powered across the try-line less than five minutes later and Sandron converted another tough kick to make it 14-7 Dinos heading into the half.

Victoria tied it at 14-14 less than 10 minutes into the second half when, after some great work from the Vikes pack, Tiffany Picketts scored off a frantic ruck and Nielsen added another into-the-wind convert.

Again, the Dinos stormed back to take the lead, this time when DaLeaka Menin put Calgary up 19-14. That led to Appleby’s try in the 71st, then to the wild finish.

After the game a number of Vikes were honoured for their brilliant play throughout the 2017 season. Angela Thompson received the Student-Athlete Community Service Award while; Tiffany PickettsKara GalbraithChanelle Edwards-ChallengerJulia Folk and Jess Neilson were named all-stars.

SCORING SUMMARY
1st Half
CGY – Elysa Sandron try, 14′ (Elysa Sandron convert), 7-0 CGY
VIC – Renee Gonzales try, 31′ (Jess Neilson convert), 7-7
CGY – Temitope Ogunjimi try, 35′ (Elsya Sandron convert), 14-7 CGY

2nd Half
VIC – Tiffany Picketts try, 48′ (Jess Neilson convert), 14-14
CGY – DaLeaka Menin try, 60′, 19-14 CGY
VIC – Jennifer Appleby try, 71′ (Jess Neilson convert), 21-19 VIC
CGY – Berlyn Seselja try, 80′ (Elysa Sandron convert), 26-21 CGY

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