The hosting Gee-Gees will have to satisfy themselves with a bronze medal match in front of their fans on Sunday. Photo: Parker Townes/Fulcrum
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Gee-Gees will  play Guelph in bronze match after semifinal loss

The Gee-Gees will not win the USports women’s rugby championship on home turf after a decisive 38-10 semifinal loss to Queen’s University at Matt Anthony Field on Friday night.

Ottawa played with a lot of speed and had plenty of action in the Gaels zone, but were unable to stop the opposing team’s strong offense.

Gee-Gees head coach Jen Boyd said that her team was outplayed by the Gaels.

 “They’re faster, stronger, better at the breakdown, better at setpiece,”  said Boyd. She wished Queen’s the best in the finals and spoke about how proud she was of her team.

Ottawa versus Queen’s semifinal

Eleven minutes into the first half, Queen’s wing Rachel Hickson slipped through the right side of Ottawa’s defence and charged halfway down the field to score, which teammate Sophie de Goede converted.

Minutes later, the Gaels managed the same feat: Hickson bursted through the side of Ottawa’s defence to charge down the field and de Goede converted the try, giving Queen’s an early 14-0 lead.

The Gee-Gees remained aggressive and worked their attack into Queens end, allowing back row player Madison Grant to score a try. Kicker Claire Gallagher was unable to land the conversion off a tough angle, making it  14-5 Queen’s.

Ottawa showed determination to keep up the momentum, but eventually a missed pass on a push into the Gaels’ defensive zone allowed Queen’s player Taylor Black to dash most of the field to score. De Goede converted yet again to give Queen’s a 21-5 lead.

Ottawa’s Maya Montiel opened second-half, scoring despite teammate Michaela Haley having received a yellow card. 

A well-coordinated Gaels offence dominated the rest of the second half, however. 

Mckinley Hunt and Lizzie Gibson both scored soon after, with de Goede converting the first try, bringing the score to 33-10 with 15 minutes left in the half.

Carmen Izyk sealed the victory with one final unconverted try.

Gee-Gee Michaela Haley said that while the game was “disappointing,” she thought they still did some “good things” on the field. 

“Towards the end, we had some of our rookies playing, and they held them back. So we’re just building for the future,”  said Haley.

“We have a really good unity within our team, and Ottawa gave us a great match, and when the fight really got going though, we did a good job of coming together,” said de Goede, who was named her team’s player of the match.

Laval versus Guelph semifinal

Laval came out on top of their semifinal with a 21-5 win over Guelph, dominating the field for the majority of the match.

The Rouge et Or had a tight offence and good passing from the beginning, leading Annabelle Parent to score a try only six minutes into the first half.

Guelph pushed hard, but could not find a break against the Laval defence. With 16 minutes left in the half, Marie-Laura Choquette scored another try which was converted by Anne-Charlotte Beaulieu, giving Laval a 14-0 lead.

The final five minutes of the first half were tense, as Guelph managed to bring the ball all the way to the opposing goal line but were stopped by Laval’s strong scrum.

The Rouge et Or started the second half with yet another try, which Beaulieu converted, giving Laval a 21-0 lead.

Nonetheless, Guelph picked up some steam and eventually answered with a try by lock player Emilie Nicholl, though a tough angle kept teammate Jasmine Ing from converting.

Laval kept a strong defence for the rest of the half, securing them the victory and a spot in Sunday’s gold medal game.

“They played very quickly in the first half, so the strategy was to make very quick offences,” said Laval player Éliane Côté, who said the team will try and keep up the same aggressive approach for Sunday’s championship match.

The Gee-Gees will now go on to play against the University of Guelph Gryphons in Sunday’s bronze medal game at 12:30 p.m. after the Gryphons team lost their semifinal match to the University of Laval earlier on Friday.

Queen’s and Laval will face off in the championship match on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. in what promises to be an exciting match between two fiercely competitive teams.

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