Spencer Van Dyk | Fulcrum Staff
Photo by Justin Labelle
LAST SUNDAY, THE University of Ottawa’s women’s rugby team took a 41-7 win against the Carleton Ravens in the season home opener.
Backrow Alexandra Cleave opened the game with two tries in the first half, first at 37 minutes remaining, and again at 14 minutes remaining, followed by a try from the Ravens. The Gee-Gees maintained a strong offensive throughout the second half, earning them consecutive points and ending the game with an impressive win.
“First games are always the roughest,” said head coach Suzanne Chaulk. “There’s a lot of nerves out there for both teams, and a lot of expectation from Carleton. I was really impressed with how composed they played. There were some times that we rushed our ball, and we left some points on the five-metre line, but I was really impressed with how well they organized.”
Until this season, the Carleton team had existed only as a club team, but they have joined the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) women’s rugby league this year along with the Université de Montreal Carabins. Despite the usual crosstown rivalry between the Gee-Gees and the Ravens in other sports, Chaulk maintains the Gees are supportive of Carleton joining the league.
“Carleton’s got a great program,” she said. “They’ve been working hard for about 10 years to get here, and now they’re here, which is wonderful … It’s a fun rivalry. We’ve been working with them to help them establish their program, so it’s kind of hard to do the whole ‘boo Carleton’ thing.”
Chaulk attributes the Gee-Gees’ win to the cohesiveness between vets and rookies, despite a huge turnover within the team.
“The vets have done an amazing job of bringing the rookies along,” she said. “And it was hard to tell the difference between them today.”
One of last year’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-stars, Allison MacCormack, echoed the sentiment, saying that “without [the rookies], it would have been a completely different game.”
Rookie Danielle Erdelyi called the vets “very supportive” and said that the chance to bond with them has brought everyone together as a team.
“It’ll only get better from here,” she said.
Chaulk said she hopes that the September 2 win will be an accurate portrayal of what fans can expect from the team this coming season.
The Gee-Gees will play the other new member of the RSEQ, the Montreal Carabins, this Friday, Sept. 7 at the Matt Anthony Field.