The 2016 Gee-Gees women's rugby team won the RSEQ Championship by a score of 29-19 against the Concordia Stingers on October 28 in Ottawa at Matt Anthony Field.
The uOttawa team was undefeated in 2016 RSEQ play, with a 7-0 regular season record and a 26-5 victory over Montreal in the conference semifinal. The Gee-Gees would go on to win a silver medal at the U SPORTS National Championship in Victoria, BC.
uOttawa met Concordia in conference play in an extremely close 20-17 win for the Gee-Gees, and had also met the Stingers in the 2014 and 2015 RSEQ Finals, as well as the 2015 national bronze medal game with Ottawa victorious on all occaisions. Ottawa was ranked no. 3 nationally heading into the 2016 RSEQ final and the win was the team's 27th straight win in RSEQ play.
The team featured All-Canadian Simone Savary at prop, and conference All-Stars Emily Babcock, Elizabeth Boudreault, Alexandria Ellis, and Jessica Foran. Jen Boyd was named the RSEQ Coach of the Year for the third straight season.
RECAP : Three times running for RSEQ Champion Gee-Gees
The Gee-Gees women's rugby team turned in a commanding group effort to capture its third consecutive RSEQ conference championship on Friday night on home field, topping the Concordia Stingers by a 29-19 final score. As any championship match should be, this contest was admirably played with tenacity and skill on both sides. Ottawa's precision in set pieces and defensive efforts powered the garnet and grey over the top for the program's third championship banner in team history.
"We just worked so hard on all of the scenarios and everything just clicked tonight," said a smiling Jen Boyd, the conference coach of the year. "Concordia is really, really physical and we just kept the pressure on. I haven't seen us play like that this year. Our backs did such a great job - it's incredible."
Simone Savary scored two tries for Ottawa in the second half while the Gee-Gees defence locked down to hold the Stingers scoreless for 39 minutes in the second half. Emma Sandstrom converted three of Ottawa's four tries and opened the scoring with a penalty goal.
Following Sandstrom's penalty, the scoring opened up as the teams traded blows. First Concordia, then Ottawa, then Concordia, and again Ottawa found their way into the end zone before the first half finished with Ottawa leading 17-14 by virtue of the original penalty goal. The Gee-Gees backs were integral to second try, picking their way down the field by attacking the middle of the defence. Alex Ellis finished the series off after a quick push forward. The convert by Alexandra Ste-Marie on the second Concordia try bounced off the top of the bar and over, eliciting some gasps.
The defensive effort was steady for Ottawa throughout the game. Rookie Georgia Stewart substituted into the match and made several dynamic tackles. "It's been a long way but it's awesome how far we've come, even since the first time we played Concordia." Stewart says as the game wore on, Ottawa got more comfortable. "I think we relaxed a bit more and we took our time and really came together as a team."
"We are a bunch of fighters. That's what it means to play at uOttawa," said Boyd. "Unconditional love and support is what we provide to each other and you see it on the field. It was a tremendous win for us. It's so rewarding to know that all the time and work you put in can end in such a positive way."
Banner in hand, the Gee-Gees are headed to the National Championship Tournament next week in Victoria, B.C., looking to improve upon last season's bronze medal performance. The seeding and schedule for the tournament, which runs Nov. 3-6, will be announced on Sunday, October 30.