Top-ranked U of O team wins tight one versus crosstown rival

Fighting the rain down at Matt Anthony Field, the University of Ottawa women’s rugby team faced their strongest challenge yet this year in their crosstown rival Carleton Ravens.

Down by five points early, thanks to a conversion from Carleton’s Roberta Drummond, the Gee-Gees answered this opening blow by scoring on their next drive, tying the game at 5-5.

Gee-Gees fly-half Emily Gray managed to break through Carleton’s defence after a minute-long struggle to push through a wall the Ravens created at their goal line.

Gray, a fourth-year economics student, would convert on her own try, giving the Gees a 7-5 lead.

Gray would score a try again with seven minutes left in the half, but she wasn’t able to convert, putting them up just 12-5. The Gees would take that lead into the dressing room.

The second half started amidst pouring rain, and with the poor field conditions, both teams struggled to make gains in their opponents’ respective zones, slipping and falling often.

With around 14 minutes left to play, the Gee-Gees would score again thanks to a team effort, capped off by Gray pushing their lead to 17-5.

The Ravens would try their best at a comeback, with Lauryn Walker scoring a late try, cutting the Gees’ lead to 17-10.

The U of O’s defensive core would play a strong role in the win, halting Carleton’s many drives to secure the win.

This was especially crucial in the last 10 minutes, when the Ravens were dominating the Gees.

“I thought we were outstanding, and I was happy with their performance,” Gee-Gees head coach Jenn Boyd said of the defensive effort.

She also gave props to Carleton’s defence.

“They’re a good team, very well-coached, but we outscored them and in the end, we won and that’s all that matters,” Boyd said.

Fifth-year veteran Gee-Gee Paulina Karwowski, who had a solid defensive game, commented on persevering despite the conditions.

“It was tough on the field tonight. Water on turf is never good, but we pulled through and I’m happy about that,” Karkowski said.

The Gee-Gees will now face the St. FX X-Men for an exhibition match at Matt Anthony Field on Oct. 5, in a contest between the two top-ranked teams in the nation. Dubbed the Rowan’s Legacy Match, in honour of an Ottawa high school rugby player who died as a result of concussive trauma, it’s a game dedicated to spreading awareness of head and brain injuries in sport.

The Garnet and Grey will then resume regular season action on  Oct. 8 at Matt Anthony again for a match-up with Bishop’s University at 4 p.m. Get tickets here.