Photo: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik.
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Simone Savary adds two tries in the second half to put away the Rouge et Or

The University of Ottawa’s women’s rugby team took down the Laval Rouge et Or at home on Sept. 10, riding a strong defence to a 20-10 victory.

Not only is the team 2-0 after this triumph, but the win kept an impressive 16 consecutive win streak alive for the Garnet and Grey in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ).

The match wasn’t a blowout victory, but it was a showcase for the team’s commitment to defence, which was touted by head coach Jen Boyd.

“Defence, that was our focus all week,” she said. “Laval put 45 points on Concordia so we knew they were good, but man did we ever play well defensively.”

After going up 5-0  thanks to a try from fifth-year prop Dani Erdelyi, the Gee-Gees had to fight through a close first half, holding on to a 5-3 lead.

Laval came out strong in the second half, scoring a try and a conversion to go up 10-5 early on. It was a tight match after that—with time ticking away, the Gee-Gees had to have a spark or suffer a rare defeat.

The Gees’ offence kicked into gear in the nick of time, with scrum-half Erin McCallan scoring a conversion and prop Simone Savary scoring two tries to close the game. Centre Courtney Mastre also scored on a penalty kick to give the Gee-Gees the 20-10 win.

The team’s defence was strong throughout the half, always keeping the game within striking distance.

“Second half I don’t think we missed a tackle, we were just awesome,” said Boyd.

“It’s just a mentality that we won’t let them break our line,” she said. “It’s a culture that we breed here … we just don’t let teams score against us.”

“We shut down all their key players, and the score reflects the fact that they couldn’t do anything,” said McCallan. “I think defence definitely won us that game.”

After an 11-point victory in their first game of the season, there are some lingering questions about the team’s offensive power, but Boyd said she expects that the team will continue to grow as the season progresses.

“Our attack needs some work, but we’ve got a lot of time to work on that,” she said.

Overall, the team is happy with the win, and with their display of defensive strength.

“It feels awesome, we haven’t lost a game in two years, so definitely this is a huge win,” said McCallan. “We’re just really excited for McGill next week and to keep our season rolling.”

The team will face the McGill Martlets in Montreal on Sept. 18, in hopes of continuing their dominance in the RSEQ.