For most of the first half it looked the biggest upset possible in the CIS women’s rugby national championship was on the horizon, but in the end the No. 1 Guelph Gryphons held off the No. 8 UVic Vikes to win by a score of 33-27.
“University women’s rugby is getting so competitive that this tournament is truly top notch. It’s anyone’s game on any day,” said Gryphons head coach Colette McAuley.
The win sends Guelph onto the semi-finals, where they play the St.FX X-Women on November 4 at 7:00 p.m. The Vikes meanwhile, will play the Concordia Stingers in the consolation semi-final on November 5 at 2 p.m.
Alexandra King had a phenomenal game, scoring 28 of the Gryphons 33 points on four tries and four converts.
“Alexandra has been a tremendous player all year. She has been a tremendously strong runner, a great kicker and her vision of the game has finally caught up with her athleticism so she’s now able to find gaps and finish,” said McAuley.
Buoyed by a loud home crowd, the Vikes came out of the gates ready to play.
They scored the first eight points of the game and were unlucky not too score more with all the pressure they were putting on the Guelph defence.
“We had a good game plan and the girls were ready, it just came down to execution on the field and a few too many mistakes cost us,” said Vikes head coach Brittany Waters.
The Gryphons worked their way back into the game by showing off the quick strike scoring ability that earned them the OUA title and the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
Two fast scores and then another one almost as soon as the teams came back on the field after the half time break gave the Gryphons the lead.
The Vikes weren’t going to accept defeat without a fight though, they pulled the game back to just a four point difference halfway through the second half.
“We were very resilient. We kept going and I wish there was some more time because if we had more we would have kept coming,” said Waters. “We had lots of opportunities to score that we did not execute.”
The teams traded two tries apiece throughout the rest of the game to reach the final score of 33-27.
“We knew UVic as the hosts were going to come out strong and they didn’t disappoint. They ran the ball well, passed the ball well and have a strong kicking game,” said McAuley on the play of her opponents.
A large UVic crowd stayed loud throughout the game, trying their best to will their Vikes to victory.
“It’s exciting for the girls to have the home crowd behind them, that kept them going throughout the whole game for sure,” said Waters.
With the victory Guelph moves into semi-finals, where a match up against St.FX X-Women on November 4 at 7:00 p.m awaits them. The loss sends the Vikes to the relegation side of the bracket. They play the Concordia Stingers on November 5 at 2 p.m.
Both games can be watched online at sportscanada.tv/usports
GUE Try – Alexandra King (Alexandra King convert) – 8-19
UVic Try – Chelsey Minter ( Jess Neilson convert) – 15-19
GUE Try – Alexandra King (Alexandra King convert) – 15-26
GUE Try – Alexandra King (Alexandra King convert) – 15-33
UVic Try – Samantha Robb (Jess Neilson convert) – 22-33
UVic Try – Gabrielle Senft (no convert) – 27-33
UVic – Dakota Weir (Yellow Card)
Players of the Game
GUE – Alexandra King
UVic – Jennifer Appleby
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (All times Pacific Time)
Thursday, Nov. 3
12:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 3 Calgary (42) vs. No. 6 Acadia (10)
14:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 2 Ottawa (25) vs. No. 7 McMaster (19)
17:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 4 StFX (24) vs. No. 5 Concordia (17)
19:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 1 Guelph (33) vs. No. 8 Victoria (27)
Friday, Nov. 4
17:00 Semifinal 1: Calgary vs. Ottawa
19:00 Semifinal 2: StFX vs. Guelph
Saturday, Nov. 5
12:00 Consolation 1: Acadia vs. McMaster
14:00 Consolation 2: Concordia vs. Victoria
Sunday, Nov. 6
11:00 Fifth place
13:00 Bronze medal
15:00 Championship final