The Gee-Gees will now look to win the women’s rugby national championship on home turf later this week. Photo: Parker Townes/Fulcrum
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Dodge, Bowie, and Haley score tries in an exciting win

The University of Ottawa women’s rugby team faced off against the Laval University Rouge et Or in Quebec City on Friday night for the Reseau de Sport Etudiant du Quebec (RSEQ) championship.

Having lost the previous two meetings with the Rouge et Or this year 28-17 and then 32-0, nobody gave the Gees much of a chance in the finals to beat Laval.

But in contrast to their regular-season games against Laval, the Gees came out swinging and showed the rest of the RSEQ why they’ve been so dominant in the past six years.

Experienced and battle-proven, Ottawa opened the scoring early. Less than five minutes into the game, Gees second-row player Michaela Haley grabbed the ball from a pile-up near the Laval endzone and managed to run about three yards for the first try of the game. The Gees failed to convert on the next play, making it 5-0 Gees and giving Laval the ball.

Later in the half, Ottawa centre Claire Gallagher kicked a field goal to give her team an 8-0 lead.

But moments later a Laval player broke away from the pile to score Laval’s first try of the game. The team converted for the extra points and cut the Gees lead to 8-7.

Late in the half, the Rouge et Or scored again to take a 12-8 lead into the half and showed the Gee-Gees that they weren’t going to go away quietly. 

For the Gee-Gees, the second half of games have not exactly been good this season. Going into the second half, the Gees knew they need to score early to get the lead back and that’s exactly what they did. 

Anna Dodge grabbed the ball from a fallen teammate and managed to push through the Laval defence. Gallagher later converted to give the Gees a 15-12 lead.

Laval’s Anne-Charlotte Beaulieu then tied the game by converting from around the Ottawa 20-yard line to make it 15 all.

Gallagher gave the Gee’s the lead back minutes later, kicking a conversion from about 17 yards away from the Laval endzone. 

Late in the half, the Gee’s solidified their lead with a try from Anna Dodge who pushed through to give Ottawa a 23-15 lead. Gallagher converted on the subsequent kick to give the Gees a 10-point 25-15 lead. That was all she wrote, as the Gee-Gees won their sixth RSEQ championship and solidified the program’s dominance in the RSEQ conference.

But for the Gee-Gees, the RSEQ championship is just one more step toward their ultimate goal: winning a national championship on home turf next week in the USports national championships.

In fact, the U of O women’s rugby team has less than a week to prepare for the next game as they will play their opening match on Wednesday at Matt Anthony Field. The Gee-Gees still don’t know who they’ll face on Wednesday or at what time they’ll take the field.

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