Inching Towards Peterborough
Women’s Rugby Team Overcomes the Gee-Gees for Spot in QSSF Final
The women’s rugby team took one step closer to its goal of returning to the CIS women’s rugby National Championships with a convincing 33-5 win over the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees on Oct. 24 at Loyola.
Chilly conditions saw the cold-weather gear being brought out and led to an afternoon of handling errors and endless re-starts. Concordia coach Graeme McGravie dismissed concerns about ball-handling, pointing out the pressure that ConU was under coming off a perfect regular season.
“When you go undefeated, you don’t want to blow it in the first round of the playoffs,” he said.
Following an unconverted try by ConU to open the scoring, the Gee-Gees came right back and forced a scrum deep in Concordia territory that led to an unconverted try by winger Natasha Watcham-Roy.
The quick response by Ottawa surprised the Stingers, but they managed to settle down and march back up the field. The result was another push-over try by the forwards and a convert by the league’s top scorer, Jackie Tittley, to take the lead 12-5.
Tough, up-the-gut running by forwards and backs resulted in a converted try out wide by Jenna Guiliani to send the Stingers into the locker room up 19-5 at halftime.
While the first half was filled with big plays and hits, neither team could capitalize on the mistakes in the second frame. However, Concordia’s lead would not be in doubt.
Dynamic attacking by running fly-half Erika Hamilton set up a try for centre Kim Whitty, and a big push by the forwards resulted in a converted try to put the game out of reach.
Led by huge hits by prop Philippa Ogbemudia and centre Nicole Deacon, Ottawa showed character right till the end, and that kept ConU honest at the breakdown. McGravie praised his team for the win, although he admitted the score should have been more lopsided.
“I thought we should have had 50 points up there,” he said.
Looking ahead, ConU will have to hold onto the ball more if they are to advance through the playoffs. The team’s backs came out flat, a weakness that McGravie said is being worked on.
Concordia will have to beat a determined Laval Rouge Et Or team, a side with muscle up front and a dynamic back-line, in order to reach its ultimate goal of returning to nationals in Peterborough, Ont.
“I think I’m going to be devastated if we don’t make it to nationals,” said rookie sensation Cara Stuckey. “But [we have to take it] one step at a time.”
That next step will be at home this Friday evening against Univesité Laval in the Quebec final. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m.
This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 11, published October 26, 2010.
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