The 2014 RSEQ Championship was the first in Gee-Gees program history. The team returned to the conference final for the first time since 2005, hosting the final at Matt Anthony Field in Ottawa on Saturday October 25. The Gee-Gees defeated the Concordia Stingers 13-5 on tries by Irene Patrinos and Courtney Mastine.
Ottawa had previously won conference silver medals in 2004 and 2005, and finished third in 2013. 2014 was a breakthrough season, the second under head coach Jen Boyd. The team went undefeated with a 7-0 record and allowed just 50 points against in seven regular season games, leading the league by 53 points in that category. Ottawa reached the final by defeating McGill 38-20.
Jen Boyd was named the RSEQ Coach of the Year and Allison MacCormack (flanker) and Erin van Gulik (scrum half) were named RSEQ All-Stars. The Gee-Gees would go on to place fourth at the CIS National Championships in Guelph.
RECAP : First Time Champions
For the first time in uOttawa women's rugby history, the Gee-Gees are RSEQ champions and will make their first ever appearance at a National Championship tournament. The no. 8 ranked Concordia University Stingers took their best shot at the no. 5 ranked Gee-Gees but were unable to capitalise in vital situations. The Gee-Gees secured their second half lead and ground out a 13-5 victory.
The scoreless first half was a seesaw battle as the ball went back and forth, with no team gaining a distinct advantage. The second was a different story however as the Gee-Gees finally struck when fourth-year scrum half Erin Van Gulik broke through the Concordia defence, bringing the ball up to the Stingers 20 yard line. Fourth-year fullback Irene Patrinos put her stamp on the game on the very next play as she punched the ball in for the score.
Following a situation that saw the Gee-Gees tack on three more points thanks to a Patrinos penalty kick, the Stingers were able to respond - scoring a try of their own and bringing Concordia within three points. As uOttawa began to gain momentum, rookie Courtney Mastine took matters into her own hands, running the ball through Concordia's defence and into the end zone for a 40 yard run, giving the Gee-Gees a comfortable edge.
"The only thing going through my head was don't stop, don't fall just run the ball into the end zone for the score," said Mastine "It's so exciting to be a part of this. I have been in championship games and I have played a lot of rugby but there's nothing I can compare to this. I have learned so much this year and have really developed as a player so I am incredibly fortunate to have been a part of this with this group of girls."
"After the first it was still anyone's game and scoreless so it keeps you on edge. As soon as we started to play slowly they would jump all over us and it really suited them. I knew if we were able to up the tempo and get thing going faster that I would make a difference for us. We did that and it resulted in a try for us and gave us some win security," added Boyd.
Many Gee-Gees were recognized for their strong play this season in a post-game ceremony. Allison MacCormak was named RSEQ all-star for a fourth time in her career - a uOttawa record.
Afton Maisonneuve was recognized for her efforts off the field as she received the league award for Leadership and Community Engagement. Fourth-year Erin Van Gulik was also named a league all-star as she led the Gee-Gees offence from scrumhalf position.
"Winning this award definitely means a lot to me because I have put so much work into this season. To be honest, it's a team thing to me because my teammates allowed me to win this by making me look good. We have all put in so much work and so many girls on this team deserve to be recognized as well," explained Van Gulik.
Jen Boyd was also recognized on Saturday as she was named RSEQ coach of the year after taking over a team which had struggled in past years and forming them into one of the league's premier threats. "Other coaches in the RSEQ vote for the recipient of this award so it obviously means a lot to be recognized by peers," said Boyd. "It shows that they respect the changes that Duncan [McNaughton] and I have made to this program so it's a great feeling."
The Gee-Gees now hold a perfect 9-0 overall record against RSEQ competition, which they will take with them into next week when they travel to Guelph, Ontario to take part in the CIS National Championship. Tournament seeding and schedules will be announced on Sunday night.
2014 Game Results:
W 34-0 vs Montreal (Sept. 1)
W 15-14 vs Laval (Sept. 7)
W 45-21 at Sherbrooke (Sept. 14)
W 10-5 at McGill (Sept. 21)
W 30-7 at Concordia (Sept. 28)
W 88-3 vs Bishop's (Oct. 5)
W 28-0 vs Carleton (Oct. 10)
W 38-20 vs McGill (Oct. 18)
W 13-5 vs Concordia (Oct. 25)
W 21-15 at Guelph (Oct. 31 - CIS round robin)
L 12-17 vs McMaster (Nov. 1 at Guelph - CIS round robin)
L 5-17 vs Western (Nov. 2 at Guelph - CIS bronze medal game)