March 2, 2020 Victoria, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Women’s sevens rugby team shut out the UBC Thunderbirds 29-0 on their way to a third consecutive Canada West Sevens Rugby Championship Sunday afternoon on home soil at Wallace Field.
After running the table on Saturday’s day one action with wins over UBC Okanagan, the Calgary Dinos, and the Lethbridge Pronghorns in convincing fashion, outscoring the opposition by a 99-17 points for and against margin, the Vikes would draw stiff competition in the 2-1 Alberta Pandas for a semi-final matchup.
Despite the lopsided, day one result, the Vikes would find themselves behind to the Pandas late in the match. After a game-opening try by the Vikes Sasha Guedes in the first half, the Pandas would answer back with two unconverted trys in the second frame by Heidi Farley and Savannah Dubien to take a 10-5 lead late into the match. Needing a converted try for a victory, the Vikes, with some determined running and tackle breaking would put the ball in the hands of Paige Farries with no time remaining on the clock. Farries would beat all Panda defenders to run from mid-field for the game tying try between the sticks. Maggie Mackinnon would successfully kick the conversion to give the Vikes the nail biting, semi-final 12-10 win.
“Alberta is also a quality side. They are very physical and have a lot of speed, so they are difficult to prepare for. I think we spent the first bit of the game on our heels and were a little lucky to get away with that one,” said Farries. “It could have easily been them instead of us in the finals.”
In the finals matchup the Vikes would put the cap on their second, consecutive undefeated season, easily handling the UBC Thunderbirds with a 29-0 finals victory, setting their sights next on the upcoming national championships.
The Vikes would find little resistance in scoring in the final, going up 12-0 in the first half of play on a pair of trys by Paige Farries. The Vikes, would continue to take advantage of the TBirds in the second half. Playing shorthanded to start the second half due to a yellow card assessed to the Thunderbirds at the end of the first half, the Vikes, having the greater advantage would find the gap in the UBC defense to send Shalaya Valenzuela from near mid-field for the try to go up 19-0.
Winger Paige Farries, playing some inspired ball on the afternoon, would record a rugby hat trick, finding her way down field and past the try line midway through the second half of play to score her third try of the game. Without a TBirds reply, the Vikes would close the match scoring and the championship victory with a final try with two minutes remaining sending Renee Gonzalez down field, beating her defender to the corner to make it a comfortable 29-0 championship win for the University of Victoria.