Perfect Vikes season ends with Canada West 7s Series title

    Vikes Win Canada West 7s Series title
    VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes completed a dominant 2018 Canada West Rugby 7s Series with three more wins on Sunday Feb. 25 at Wallace Field, moving them to a perfect record of 6-0 in the Victoria leg of the series, 18-0 overall, and capturing both the Victoria tournament title as well as the conference 7s banner in the process.

    “That was our goal coming into the series and we knew that we had the athletes to accomplish it,” said Vikes head coach Brittany Waters on the team’s undefeated season. “It was really important for us to take it one game at a time, one tournament at a time, and just keep improving on our performances.”

    The Vikes capped off their season by scoring 15 unanswered points in the second half to defeat the 2017 conference champions, the Calgary Dinos, by a score of 22-5 in what was another monumental clash between the two teams.

    Between 15s and 7s rugby, the last four Canada West titles have now come down to a Vikes vs. Dinos showdown. While Calgary has come out on top the last three times, the Vikes were not going to be denied the chance to celebrate a conference title in front of their hometown fans on the day.

    “We never want to focus too much on another team but it’s always in the back of our minds, especially on our home field,” said Waters. “To be able to beat them here in front of our home crowd was a really good step for the girls.”

    Emily Belchos crossed the try line twice in the team’s victory over Calgary, while Paige Farries finished the game by scoring her conference-best 25th try of the season.

    “Going into this game I was nervous, Calgary is such a good team and we just played our game,” said fifth-year Vike Kara Galbraith, who knocked through a conference-high 40 converts. “We didn’t let them play their tight, up the middle style and instead played our wide game.

    “Especially with us coming second last year it was really nice to prove ourselves this year and I’m really happy for our team.”

    The victory over Calgary was just icing on the cake for a Vikes team that had already secured the conference banner going into their final game of the season. Back-to-back tournament victories in Alberta and Fraser Valley combined with winning their first five games of the Victoria tournament had put them beyond the reach of the rest of the conference.

    Victoria started their final day of play by surviving a scare from a Pandas squad determined to play spoiler.

    Jamie Braybrook of the Pandas and Farries traded a pair of tries each in the first half before 14-straight Vikes points in the second frame allowed them to pull away for the 26-12 victory.

    Victoria then settled into a groove for their second game of the day, pasting the Fraser Valley Cascades by a score of 31-0.

    In their season-long 18-game winning streak, the Vikes outscored their opponents by a combined tally of 627-124. For a veteran of the squad like Galbraith, there has been a lot of hard work to see the pecking order in the conference come full-circle.

    “I remember losing games 82-0 when I first started with the Vikes and those were tough days,” said Galbraith. “There is a group of us graduating and we stuck hard with loving the Vikes and when you work hard and stick with something, you will get the results you want.”

    The perfect Canada West 7s season added with an unbeaten 6-0 run for the team at last year’s National University 7s Championships has meant that the Vikes have now gone an astonishing 24 games since suffering a defeat in 7s play.

    “I’m so proud of the girls, it has been really fun coaching them and they have taken on the challenges and risen to every occasion,” said Waters. “Credit to them, this is their win and I’m really happy for them.”

    Sunday results

    Game 14: UVic Vikes 26, Alberta Pandas 12
    Scoring summary:
    VIC: 12-14: 26
    ALB: 12-0: 12
    • ALB try – #11 Jamie Braybrook (convert missed) – 0-5
    • VIC try – #4 Paige Farries (convert missed) – 5-5
    • ALB try – #11 Jamie Braybrook (#5 Aline Wicklum convert) – 5-12
    • VIC try – #4 Paige Farries (#9 Kara Galbraith convert) – 12-12
    • VIC try – #9 Kara Galbraith (#9 Kara Galbraith convert) – 19-12
    • VIC try – #6 Madeleine Graham (#9 Kara Galbraith convert) – 26-12

    Game 16: UVic Vikes 31, Fraser Valley Cascades 0
    Scoring summary:
    VIC: 12-19: 31
    UFV: 0-0: 0
    • VIC try – #14 Sasha Guedes (convert missed) – 5-0
    • VIC try – #14 Sasha Guedes (#14 Sasha Guedes convert) – 12-0
    • VIC try – #13 Renee Gonzales (#10 Jess Neilson convert) – 19-0
    • VIC try – #13 Renee Gonzales (#10 Jess Neilson convert) – 26-0
    • VIC try – #6 Madeleine Graham (convert missed) – 31-0

    Game 21: UVic Vikes 22, Calgary Dinos 5
    Scoring summary:
    VIC: 7-15: 22
    CGY: 5-0: 5
    • VIC try – #5 Emily Belchos (#9 Kara Galbraith convert) – 7-0
    • CGY try – #9 Taejah Thompson (convert missed) – 7-5
    • VIC try – #10 Jess Neilson (convert missed) – 12-5
    • VIC try – #5 Emily Belchos (convert missed) – 17-5
    • VIC try – #4 Paige Farries (convert missed) – 22-5

    Tournament standings 
    VIC       6          0          0          24
    CGY     4          1          1          19
    UBC      3         2          1          16
    LET      3          3          0          15
    ALB      3          3          0          15
    UFV      1          5          0          9
    TRU      0          6          0          6
    NOTE: Teams are awarded four points for a win, two points for a draw, and one point for a loss.

    Overall series standings
    Team / Pts.

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