Despite win, team still focused on national championship

The Gee-Gees women’s rugby team have won the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) championship for the fourth year in a row, defeating the University of Laval in a hardfought game.

Laval came out at a blistering pace, scoring early in the game to take a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the game after some quick passing plays. But the Gees didn’t lose focus.

“You take a look at the end zone after they score, and our captain’s leading a breathing exercise, just to calm them down and get them refocused, that’s something we’ve been working on all year, and it worked,” said head coach Jen Boyd.

The Gees spent most of the remaining time in the first half pressing the offence near Laval’s end. Their efforts paid off when front row Emily Gray scored, cutting the deficit to 7-5 as they entered the second half.

In the second frame, the Gees showed they could sustain their intensity. They played tight defence, preventing several of Laval’s attempts to get over the line. Meanwhile, they systematically brought up the score with wing Alexandra Ondo, back row Dria Bennett, and second row Danielle Erdelyi each scoring a try, and Gray adding a penalty goal.

When all was said and done, the Gees came out with a 25-7 win, and the RSEQ championship.

“We really fought for each other,” said front row Alexandria Ellis. “We knew today was going to be a war, and we really showed up.”

Despite the big win, Boyd says she’s just thinking about the national championship, which runs Nov. 2-5 in Lethbridge, Alberta. The Gees came second last year after losing a tight game to St. Francis Xavier.

“As much as I’m really happy for (today’s win), my eyes are on Lethbridge, it’s the one we missed last year and the year before,” said Boyd. “That’s the gold medal we want, and that’s the gold medal we’re going after.”

Boyd says she doesn’t need to tell the team to stay focused on nationals.

“The leadership on this team is truly remarkable,” she said. “They know what it’s like to win the big game and to lose the big game, and there’s not much I have to say, they’re saying it themselves.”

“Every game is going to be a battle, and we’re going to keep fighting, and fighting, and fighting, until the very end,” said Ellis.

And in case you were wondering, there was a practice the next morning.