Less than 24-hours removed from their thrilling come-from-behind win against Acadia, the Gee-Gees women's rugby team was almost able to replicate their performance to punch a ticket to their third-straight national final. Ultimately, down to the wire, the OUA Champion Guelph Gryphons were able to hold on to a narrow 15-12 win on Friday evening.
In a close defensive struggle throughout played through a steady downpour on Raymond Field, Ottawa opened the scoring on an Emily Gray try at the 17:22 mark. The conversion attempt failed; in fact, the weather was tough on conversions all evening, with only one of five attempts being successful.
Leading 5-0, the Gee-Gees narrowly missed a second try when they could not keep an onside kick into the end zone in-bounds. Guelph seemed to take strength from the near miss by Ottawa, but while both teams were able to move the ball with some success, scoring chances proved hard to come by.
The Gryphons finally found the scoresheet at the 34:27 mark, just before the end of the first half. Emilie Nicholl, who would be named the Gryphons' Player of the Game, pushed the ball across the end line. A missed conversion attempt left the score tied 5-5.
Guelph continued to apply the pressure, and the Gryphons were ultimately rewarded when Brodie Schmidt scored a try at 38:14 with the game clock well into first-half injury time. Guelph took its first lead of the game, 10-5, into the locker room.
After the break, Guelph drove to the goal line, but was held up by the Ottawa defence. Two minutes later, the Gryphons were again held up on the goal line, but finally, on their third try, Amara Hill scored the try that increased the Guelph lead to 15-5.
Ottawa recovered the ball on the ensuing kickoff, and marched to the goal line before being held up by the Gryphons' defence. The Gee-Gees persisted, and in the 59th minute, Gray scored her second try of the game off a goal-line scramble. Claire Gallagher was good on the only successful conversion attempt of the game, narrowing Guelph's lead to 15-12 and making for a riveting finish.
Both teams turned the ball over in the final minutes before the Gryphons took possession and kept it, running out the clock to punch their ticket to the final on Sunday against the StFX X-Women.
The Gee-Gees will prepare for a rematch of last year's national final as they take on rival Laval in the Bronze medal game on Sunday. Ottawa and Laval are familiar foes, Sunday's match will mark the third time they have met this season. Action at Acadia gets underway at 12:30 p.m.
OTTAWA - 5-7-12
GUELPH - 10-5-15
OTT – Emily Gray try (conversion attempt failed) 17:22
GUE – Emilie Nicholl try (conversion attempt failed) 34:27
GUE – Brodie Schmidt try (conversion attempt failed) 38:14
GUE– Amara Hill try (conversion attempt failed) 45:51
OTT – Emily Gray try (Claire Gallagher conversion good) 59:51
Players of the game
OTT: Georgia Stewart
GUE: Emilie Nicholl