U Sports Communications
VICTORIA - Great defence was the story of the night at Centennial Stadium on Friday, as the Ottawa Gee-Gees held on for a 7-5 victory over the Calgary Dinos in the CIS women’s rugby championship semifinals.
A game that was decided by a single convert came down to the wire, as Calgary pushed and pushed to go ahead in the dying minutes. With the clock stopped at 70 minutes, the Dinos had multiple opportunities to break the Ottawa line but just couldn’t cut through.
“We’ve got a defensive team—it’s what we work on more than anything,” said Ottawa head coach Jennifer Boyd. “The sacrifices these girls make for each other on and off the field… it’s been four years I’ve been with this program and I just told them, in history they’re going to be the best Gee-Gees team ever no matter what happens in 48 hours.
“Just so proud of them and I love them very, very much.”
The Gee-Gees move on to the national final, where they’ll face the winner of Guelph and StFX on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. PT. Calgary will play the loser of that game for bronze on Sunday.
“You know what, you get this far sometimes you get the rolls sometimes you don’t,” said Calgary head coach Simon Chi. “Obviously to come that close it certainly hurts. There was a team out there that left it all out there. Proud of the effort.”
Early in the game it was the Dinos that showed off some impressive defence. The Gee-Gees had the early advantage, fighting their way to the line on multiple occasions, but time and time again the Dinos came up with clutch stops.
It wasn’t until the 32nd minute that the Gee-Gees were able to put up any points, with Elizabeth Boudreault capitalizing after a number of pick-and-goes just before the half.
Emma Sandstrom made the convert for the Gee-Gees, firing a no-doubter through the uprights for what turned out to be the most important points of the night.
The tide began to turn after the half. The Dinos picked up the pace and started to determine the flow of the game. It wouldn’t take long for Calgary to get the boost that they needed, with Emily Tuttosi scoring her second try of the tournament in the 47th minute.
However, a missed convert from the Dinos determined that they would continue to chase on the scoreboard until the dying minutes. And chase they did, pinning down the Gee-Gees deep in their zone until the final whistle.
“Hats off to Calgary,” said Ottawa head coach Jennifer Boyd. “I thought we really dominated the first half and they obviously made a ton of adjustments and came back just—wow they had a great half and we just barely hung on.”
Every time it seemed like the Canada West champions had found themselves some space, the Gee-Gees either stifled the attack or were the beneficiaries of good luck. A bobbled ball on the wing in injury time was the last straw for a defiant Dinos squad.
The consolation semifinals will play out on Saturday, while the bronze and gold medal games will take place at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., respectively on Sunday.
“We came back from this type of disappointment last year and you know what, this group is resilient,” said Chi. “They’ll come back from this one and we’ll look to build off this next year.”
32’ OTT Try – Elizabeth Boudreault (Emma Sandstrom convert) – 7-0
47’ CGY Try – Emily Tuttosi (convert missed) – 7-5
Players of the Game
CGY – #6 Coralyn Cafaro
OTT – #1 Simone Savary
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (All times Pacific Time)
Thursday, Nov. 3
12:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 3 Calgary (42) vs. No. 6 Acadia (10)
14:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 2 Ottawa (25) vs. No. 7 McMaster (19)
17:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 4 StFX (24) vs. No. 5 Concordia (17)
19:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 1 Guelph (33) vs. No. 8 Victoria (27)
Friday, Nov. 4
17:00 Semifinal 1: Calgary (7) vs. Ottawa (5)
19:00 Semifinal 2: StFX vs. Guelph
Saturday, Nov. 5
12:00 Consolation 1: Acadia vs. McMaster
14:00 Consolation 2: Concordia vs. Victoria
Sunday, Nov. 6
11:00 Fifth place
13:00 Calgary vs. Loser Semifinal 2
15:00 Ottawa vs. Winner Semifinal 2