The University of Victoria Vikes will live to fight another day, while for the host Acadia Axewomen, their 2018 season is over following a 10-7 loss in the second of two consolation semifinals at the U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship.
A near capacity crowd was treated to an entertaining contest with a strong focus on defense throughout.
Though the torrential rains and strong winds that had been forecasted did not really materialize, the wind and the rain certainly had an impact on the play on the field.
Victoria, with the often swirling winds pretty much at their backs for the first half, opened the scoring at 18:22 on a try by Kelsey McKinnon. Maddy Aberg added a successful conversion for a 7-0 Victoria lead.
Both teams had other chances to score in the opening half, but while both the Vikes and Axewomen made it to their opponents’ respective goal lines, both defences came up big to prevent any further scoring.
A fairly even first half, possession-wise, came to an end with Victoria clinging to a 5-0 lead.
After the intermission, Acadia possessed whatever wind advantage there was remaining, but despite decent possession time, the Axewomen were unable to gain much positive yardage against an inspired defensive team effort by the Vikes.
A penalty kick by Aberg at 48:13 increased the Victoria lead to 10-0, but to their credit, the Axewomen weren’t done. Alysha Corrigan broke free to score a try at 68:03, then added the two-point conversion to bring Acadia back to within three at 10-7.
However, while the Axewomen maintained a slight edge in possession for the remainder of the game, Victoria was able to hold on for a hard-fought 10-7 victory.
Jordyn Myers was named Victoria’s Player of the Game, while fellow first-year performer Valerie Wideski received the Player of the Game nod for Acadia.
“Being underdogs in the tournament, it’s an extreme accomplishment (to make it to the consolation final),” Myers said in a post-game interview. “We have a ton of players looking forward to playing for fifth.”
Myers credited the performance of the Vikes’ defence for the victory.
“(We were) working together on defence, and defense always wins games. We were connected, we persevered and did our job.”
As for the consolation final against Queen’s, Myers added, “We are just going to work our hardest. That’s all we can do. We’ll work our hardest, persevere and do what we can.”
Speaking after the game, Wideski said the Axewomen “stuck to our game plan” as much as possible under the circumstances. “Their defense was pretty good,” she said of Victoria’s overall effort.
Wideski said she was “really proud of how far we’ve come as a team this season,” adding the Axewomen “really stepped up our play coming in,” and were rewarded with two entertaining team efforts.
A native of Richmond, B.C., Wideski could be seen chatting with some of her friends on the Victoria side after the game. She admitted to having had some pressure put on her to stay in B.C to attend university, but added that she has “no regrets at all” with her decision to choose Acadia.
Victoria will now play Queen’s in the consolation final on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET / 7:30 a.m. PT.
VIC – #21 Maddy Aberg penalty kick 58:13 VIC 10 ACA 0
ACA – #12 Alysha Corrigan try (conversion by Alysha Corrigan) 68:03 VIC 10 ACA 7
Players of the game
VIC: #10 Jordyn Myers
ACA: #3 Valerie Wideski