Gees will take on Laval for rematch in a few days
In their second showing of the 2021 season, the University of Ottawa women’s rugby team welcomed Laval University to Matt Anthony Field on Sept. 18.
There was no doubt it would be a tough game for the Gee-Gees, as the Laval Red and Gold proved two years ago that they are the best team in the country. The defending champions lined up in their all-black uniforms: just like the Gees, they were coming off a dominant win.
Both teams looked to move to 2-0 in the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) and establish themselves as the strongest team in the conference.
Unfortunately, the U of O spent the majority of the first half under pressure, and struggled to keep the ball out of their end of the field.
Laval’s kicking kept the Gees trapped in their own zone and forced them to play defence near their endzone for long periods of time.
That said, it cannot be ignored that the Garnet and Grey prevented Laval from scoring numerous times, and only allowed a single try, despite the amount of pressure on the endzone line.
The try by the Rouge et Or came from Nele Pien, and while the conversion was missed, the team opted for a field goal moments later to up the score to 8-0.
The Gee-Gees were unable to get anything going for them in the first 40 minutes and it was not until late in the second half that they were able to get themselves on the board.
A burst of energy on the possession allowed the team to rush the ball upfield. With the entire team pushing her on — literally — Meredith Sirrs touched the ball down in the endzone for the Gee-Gees.
Claire Gallagher was on the pitch for the convert. Kicking just wide of the goalposts, Gallagher was granted a rekick thanks to the over-excited Laval team moving too soon.
She did not miss twice, and Gallagher brought the Gees within one point.
Unfortunately, there was not much time left on the clock, and neither team was able to score again.
The U of O dropped the game 8-7, and fell to 1-1 on the season.
Gees’ head coach, Jen Boyd, explained the team takes things game by game, and they have things to improve on looking ahead at their rematch on Saturday, Sept. 25.
“They obviously exposed some gaps that we’ve got to work on and we’ve only got about four days to work on them before we head over there,” Boyd said in a post-game interview. “We knew it would be a tough two weeks.”
This was the first time the teams met this season — in a week, the Gee-Gees will be in Laval looking for revenge.