University of Victoria Vikes women’s rugby stand out Paige Farries couldn’t have picked a better time to have her first multi-try game of the season, as the Vikes earned a 26-0 victory over the UBC Thunderbirds in the second semifinal at the Canada West Rugby Championship in Edmonton on Saturday.
The victory secures the Vikes a spot in the U SPORTS National Championships, set for Nov. 1-4 in Wolfville, N.S., and also gives them a chance to seek revenge over the Calgary Dinos in the Canada West final on Oct. 21. In the 2017 Canada West finals the Dinos denied the Vikes what would have been their third-straight national championship appearance after a try in the final seconds left the Vikes settling for Canada West silver.
Farries – who scored her lone try of the regular season back on Sept. 16 in a 20-0 win over Lethbridge – posted tries in the 29th and 54th minutes, as Victoria held their West Coast rivals off the board.
A member of Canada’s women’s sevens team, Farries scored what proved to be the game’s winning points on her first try of the game less than 30 minutes in, as Maddy Aberg made good on the convert to give the Vikes a 7-0 lead heading into the half.
After watching the Thunderbirds hold the early territorial edge in the second half, the Vikes pushed back, with Farries busting the game open in the 54th minute thanks to her second try of the afternoon.
The Red Deer, Alta. product increased Victoria’s lead with a 40-yard run to the try zone, before Aberg added her second convert of the game, as the Vikes stretched their lead to 14-0.
“It was great to see her sort of play to her potential and just be able to relax and focus on herself,” said Vikes women’s rugby coach Brittany Waters, whose squad played without Farries in the team’s 26-24 loss to UBC at the start of the season. “She’s had a very big leadership role on this team, and today we just wanted her to play free. The team really stepped up and allowed everyone to have those great individual performances.”
Victoria added two more tries before the game was out, as Nicola Smith and Linnea Davi padded the Vikes lead with scores in the 72nd and 75th minutes respectively.
“We really stuck to our game plan in the second half,” added Waters. “In the first half we got off note a little bit, but we came back together and did what we set out to do. The girls kept raising their game in the second half and it resulted in a good score for us.”
Thanks to the win, the Vikes will return to the national tournament for the third time in the last four seasons, after a brief one-year hiatus in 2017.
“It was a bit of a heartbreak last year, so especially for the girls who were on the team last year, to have this win and to know we’re going to nationals is huge for them, and huge for the program,” explained Waters. “We need to refocus for the game on Sunday against Calgary. It’s a rematch of last year, so these girls will be very pumped for that.”
The Vikes and Dinos will clash for Canada West gold on Oct. 21 at 12:00 p.m. pacific time. The game will also determine seeding for the U SPORTS National Championship. The Canada West final will be webcast live at canadawest.tv.
1 2 F
UBC- 0 0 0
VIC- 7 19 26
29′: VIC Try #15 Paige Farries (#21 Maddy Aberg Convert) 7-0
54′: VIC Try #15 Paige Farries (#21 Maddy Aberg Convert) 14-0
72′: VIC Try #11 Nicola Smith (Convert Missed) 19-0
75′: VIC Try #24 Linnea Dalvi (#21 Maddy Aberg Convert) 26-0