The Gee-Gees women's rugby team of 2019 won the RSEQ Championship on Friday October 25 vs. the Laval Rouge et Or at Stade TELUS-UL in Quebec. It was the third meeting between the teams of the season, following a revision of the RSEQ regular season schedule which tiered the league into a top-four and lower-four structure, with each division playing a home-and-home in the regular season. Laval had won the first matchup of the season, 28-17, in Ottawa, and also the rematch at Laval by a 32-0 score on September 28. Laval also went on to win the U SPORTS National Championship for 2019, while Ottawa took bronze at the national tournament.
The win was Ottawa's first conference championship won on the road as the previous five had been at Matt Anthony Field. It was also the third consecutive season that Ottawa and Laval met in the conference final. Tori Wyman won her fifth conference championship in 2019, becoming the fourth rugby team player in program history to do so. The Gee-Gees had a 3-2-1 record in the 2019 regular season and featured the conference Rookie of the Year, Madison Grant, as well as 2019 conference All-Stars Alex Ondo and Michaela Haley who were each also named to the U SPORTS All-Canadian Second Team. Ottawa reached the conference final by defeating Sherbrooke 36-20 in the semifinal, in Ottawa.
The team lineup for the 2019 RSEQ Championship match was: 1. Michaela Haley 2. Anna Dodge 3. Maya Montiel 4. Meredith Sirrs 5. Ketsia Kamba 6. Georgia Stewart 7. Daniella Ellis 8. Madison Grant 9. Taylor Donato 10. Claire Gallagher 11. Lauren Minns 12. Justine Blatt-Janmaat 13. Aurora Bowie 14. Emma Wade 15. Alex Ondo 16. Camryn Holland 17. Dee Mills 18. Talia Hennessy 19. Kenzie Cecchetto 20. Sarah White 21. Chloe Buckingham 22. Julia Latremouille 23. Ritaj Abdoulla 24. Annabelle Clements 25. Victoria Hough. Michaela Haley, Anna Dodge, and Aurora Bowie scored tries, with Claire Gallagher converting two. Gallagher also kicked two penalties.
RECAP : Women’s rugby wins RSEQ Championship for sixth consecutive season
The Gee-Gees women's rugby team has been crowned RSEQ Champions for a sixth consecutive season, defeating the rival Laval Rouge et Or on the road by a score of 25-15 to accomplish the feat.
"I've been here 7 years — that was the biggest win in my career as a Gee-Gees coach," said head coach Jen Boyd following the victory.
"17 of our 25 were first and second years. Last time we were there was about a month ago, they beat us 32-0 and we never crossed their half, we never had a chance. They never had the ball second half, we had all possession, one handling error, which is unheard of," she said.
Ottawa opened the scoring with a try just five minutes into the contest. A penalty kick near the midway point of the first half extended the lead to eight points, but a response from Laval moments later cut that lead to a single point.
In the final seconds of the first half, Laval tallied another try to earn their first lead of the night.
Ottawa's attacked pressured further as the second half began. They broke through in the 52nd minute with a try to take the lead, but a penalty kick from Laval a few moments later knotted the contest at 15 points each.
Another penalty kick from Claire Gallagher restored the lead for the Garnet and Grey midway through the second half, while the defence buckled down in order to maintain it.
A late try in the final minutes of the game padded the lead for the Gee-Gees and ultimately helped clinch the victory.
The keys to the victory ultimately came down to defence, discipline and effort, according to Boyd.
"We had one penalty in the second half, we've never played that disciplined in my seven years here. That's the best, biggest win I've had as a Gee-Gees coach, hands down," she said.
Both Ottawa and Laval will now look ahead to the U SPORTS Rugby Championship presented by uOttawa. Catch all the action featuring the top eight women's rugby teams in the country from October 30 – November 3 at Matt Anthony Field.
We know we can play with arguably one of the best teams in the country. I think Laval is one of the best in the country, if not the best, as a team. And we were obviously able to compete with them," Boyd said.
"So it gives the young ones a lot of confidence and the older ones know what this tournament is like — anything can happen. We're looking forward to the next week for sure."