Grant leads Gee-Gees to bronze while Beaulieu takes Rouge et Or to the top
The University of Laval women’s rugby team marked a triumphant 22-14 win over Queen’s University in the USports championship finals. Sunday afternoon’s game marks the first gold medal win for Laval in program history.
The teams played a passionate game at the University of Ottawa’s Matt Anthony Field. Laval’s Rouge et Or were dominant in the first half, staving off fierce competition from the Gaels.
Queen’s player Sophie de Goede was hit with a penalty six minutes in, leading to a line-out and powerful maul for the Rouge et Or. Pushed over the try line, Laval third-liner Nele Pien scored her team’s first points. With an unsuccessful conversion by fly half Anne-Charlotte Beaulieu, the team held a five-point lead by the eight-minute mark.
A second try, scored by Rouge et Or right-wing Marie-Laura Choquette, and a sharp conversion by Beaulieu gave the team a 12-point lead by halftime.
Heading into the second half, the Gaels intensified their play. Seven minutes into the second half, Queen’s player McKinley Hunt earned the team’s first try, and a clean conversion by de Goede followed.
Later in the half, five well-fought points by Rouge et Or third-liner Jan-Ma Létinois and Beaulieu were countered by a try and conversion from Sophie de Goede.
The teams remained in this 19-14 position until, with twenty minutes left in the game, the Gaels received an offside penalty. The subsequent penalty kick awarded the Rouge et Or their three final points. Despite a strong showing in the second half, the Gaels were not able to make a comeback.
Justine Pelletier, a kinesiology student and scrum-half for the Rouge et Or, was overjoyed by her team’s showing at the championships.
“It’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” said Pelletier. She admits that the season was a lot of hard work, but she’s looking forward to celebrating the win with her teammates and family.
Pelletier will also be celebrating personal wins as well; during the award ceremony, she was named the Championship MVP and part of the Tournament All-Star Team.
Speaking after the game, assistant coach Andrew Ayre ascribed part of Laval’s win to a previous loss against the Gee-Gees in October. “The timing was perfect,” Ayre said, speaking about their loss at the réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSÉQ) championship. “It showed us that we’re not perfect and need to work harder to win.”
The gold medal put a close to the Rouge et Or’s nearly-undefeated season; the team will head back to Quebec City with a 2019 record of 10 wins and just one loss.
Gee-Gees win bronze
The Gee-Gees defeated the Guelph Gryphons 33-17 earlier in the afternoon on Sunday.
Ottawa opened the scoring thanks to a nice sweeping play by veteran Micheala Haley, playing her last rugby game with the university. Haley then passed the torch to rookie Meredith Sirrs who scored moments later.
Another rookie who looked to close out her season on the right foot was Madison Grant, who scored the Gee-Gees third try of the first half.
Talia Hoffman scored for the Gryphons to make it 19-7 going into the second half. Guelph’s Brodie Schmidt opened the second half with a try as hail came down onto the field.
Alexandra Ondo provided the answer for the Gee-Gees, capping off her strong tournament with two important second-half tries for the Gee-Gees.
Guelph pushed and added a try before the end of the game.
The Gee-Gees now have their second straight bronze medal after winning bronze last year they won gold in 2017. With a ton of young talented players like Grant, Sirrs and Aurora Bowie the Gee-Gees will look to repeat their 2017 feat in 2020.