The University of Victoria Vikes women’s rugby 7s team got a 3-0 start to their appearance on Mar. 23 at the Canadian University 7s National Championship hosted by Royal Military College at the KMCSC Dome in Kingston, Ont. With Day 1 victories over Brock, Western and Sherbrooke, the Vikes will prepare for the tournament quarter-finals on Sunday.
The Vikes came out of the gate with a 19-0 lead at half time in their opening game over the Brock Badgers. Brooke Bazian scored three tries and had two converts in the eventual 36-5 victory.
“The girls really came out firing in our first game,” said Mandy Marchak, who traveled with the team as Vikes coach. “This one day in particular we have been the most consistent we have been all year and we just came out and played our game. Our game plan was to pull the teams wide to wide so play them from sideline to sideline. The field is really wide so that played to our advantage because we have a lot of speed.”
Up next the Vikes picked up another dominating victory, this time over Western by a final score of 48-7. Bazian was once again on the score sheet with two tries and one convert, while Emily Belchos, McKenzie Pusch and Renee Gonzalez all scored at least one try in the game.
“Our kick offs are even dominating for the first time all season,” added Marchak about where the Vikes were finding success. “We have gained so much possession off our kick offs. Gurpreet Dhaliwal would win the kick off and that just maintained possession and set a beautiful platform for the rest of the team to follow through on the game plan we had for ourselves.”
“The field is amazing. It’s a big indoor turf field in a dome on the army naval base and the ceiling is so high that no professional kicker could kick the ball high enough to hit the ceiling. It’s got a really good vibe with a good feel. There are a lot of teams here.”
The Vikes sealed their undefeated day with a 27-10 win over Sherbrooke. Linea Dalvi scored two tries, while Belchos, Gonzalez an Maddy Aberg each scored one. Bazian added one penalty kick to her tally to finish as the tournament’s second-highest scorer on the day with 31 points. Alberta’s Ali Wicklum leads all scorers with 32 points, while Bridget Peros of Queen’s and Julia Schell of Guelph trail Bazian with 30 and 29 points, respectively.
“The girls have showed up to play yet are still having a good time,” described Marchak of the atmosphere with a large variety and quantity of men’s and women’s teams competing. “We went 3-for-3 and we are looking forward to playing Laval tomorrow for the quarter-finals.”
The Vikes and Rouge et Or, who finished second in their pool, will go head-to-head for a spot in the semifinals at 8:00 a.m. Pacific time. If the Vikes advance will play the winner of Queen’s and Concordia. Alberta and Sherbooke, as well as Guelph and Regina will face off in the other two quarter-finals.
“The field is a little bit wider than a normal field,” added Marchak about the facility playing to their advantage. “We have so much speed which really allows us to back ourselves and use a lot of our speed. If we are following our game plan going wide to wide getting that ball out to the last person early is key and we are doing it. That’s putting us out on that front foot.”