Alexandra Ondo takes the ball down the field with the Laval defender in pursuit. Photo: Parker Townes.
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U of O win 2017 championship game rematch 24-12

The stands were packed at Matt Anthony Field for the first women’s rugby match of the season.

Over 1,800 fans showed up to the Labour Day match, many of them from the University of Ottawa’s 101 Week, to watch their national champion Gee-Gees take the field.

The Gee-Gees’ opponent was none other than the team it defeated in last year’s U Sport’s championship, the Laval Rouge et Or.

This being the first regular game since the championship victory, some commemoration was in order. Before the match got underway, the 2017 championship banner was unfurled to a round of applause from Gee-Gees fans.

This was accompanied by a speech from Dria Bennett, last season’s captain and winner of the U of O athlete of the year award, thanking the team and coaching staff that helped them throughout the momentous season.

“I don’t think I can put into words how thankful and grateful we are to the coaching staff. They have helped us develop as young athletes,” she said.

She thanked now-former Gee-Gees assistant coach Duncan McNaughton in particular.

McNaughton left the team after five seasons on the sidelines, also coaching the Canada women’s national U18 team on the side.

Despite losing some key players such as Bennett to ineligibility, the Gee-Gees still looked to possess incredible power on both sides of the ball.

Tori Wyman scored the first try of the match, followed by first-year Michaela Haley, putting the Gee-Gees up by 14 early in the game.

The U of O held on to a 19-7 lead until halftime and, while Laval was able to get another try in, the game was never really a contest from then on, with a strong defensive game played throughout the second half.

This included standing the Rouge et Or up on a threatening possession midway through the second half.

The final U of O try came courtesy of Rachel McCallan to make it 24-7. While Laval would score one more try, the final score stood at 24-12.

With this match behind them, the Gee-Gees improve to 1-0 on the season, while Laval drops to 0-1.Next up, the Gee-Gees will take on the University of Sherbooke on the road on Sept.9.