The Queen’s Gaels claimed their first-ever CIS medal in women’s rugby thanks to a 32-24 victory over the McGill Martlets in the third-place match of the national championship, presented by the Secretariat a la Capitale-Nationale, Sunday afternoon at TELUS-Universite Laval Stadium.
Crowned OUA champions for the first time last weekend, the Gaels had finished fifth in each of their two previous appearances at the CIS tournament, last year and in 2010.
As for the RSEQ titlist Martlets, their fourth place equals the result from their last appearance in 2005.
Both teams ended up in the bronze-medal contest after posting 1-1 records in pool play.
Gaels head coach Beth Barz was proud of her team’s performance in the face of adversity. “Really tough opponent, McGill played their hearts out. They saw some weaknesses and tried to exploit them and certainly made a few things happen. We were able to make a few adjustments in the second half for the most part and we were able to come through.”
“I thought it was a really close game, both teams could have won that game,” said McGill head coach Matt Stephens. “I think that what we learned today is that we have to play smart for 80 minutes. A lot of it was our mistakes today. Queen’s is very strong but I thought we were able to keep up with them the whole game. So it’s a little bit disappointing, but hopefully it’s a learning process for our program.”
It was a very physical game in the first half. Every inch gained up the field was hard fought for.
The Gaels were the first to see their efforts rewarded, at the 10th minute, when Bronwyn Corrigan of Waterloo, Ont., scored a try. It was not successfully converted however, making it 5-0 for the Ontario champs.
McGill responded at the 18-minute mark when Deanna Foster of Caledon, Ont., broke through the Queen’s defence and set the ball down in their end zone. Brianna Miller of Pointe-Claire, Que., converted the try to make it 7-5 for McGill.
Keeping up the pressure, the Gaels scored another try 34 minutes into the game. Hammersmith, Ontario’s Karley Heyman’s try was not converted, but it allowed Queen’s to take a 10-7 lead. Queen’s also came close to adding another try at the end of the first half, but the referee called back the ball due to a knock-on.
The match became quite animated in the second half, with both teams rising to the occasion.
Lauren McEwen’s of Wasaga Beach, Ont., gave Queen’s a six-point cushion thanks to penalty kick in the 46th minute.
McGill then took control with their second lead of the match, thanks to tries scored by Caroline Suchorski of Kirkland, Que., in the 49th minute and Emily Challice of Lakefield, Ont., in the 57th. Brianna Miller’s conversion on that last try gave the Martlets a 19-13 advantage.
The lead switched hands a couple of times after that point.
Queen’s went up by one thanks to a try scored by Sydnee Nolan of Chatham, Ont., and a successful conversion by Bronwyn Corrigan. Suchorski then gave the lead back to McGill, thanks to a spectacular 50-yard run into the Gaels end zone. Her second try of the game gave the RSEQ champions a 24-20 lead.
The Gaels did however manage to shift the tide, as they got back ahead at the 69th minute when Corrigan pivoted around the last Martlets’ players that separated her from the end zone. After McEwen’s conversion, it was 27-24 for Queen’s. McEwen then sealed the victory with a try at the 76th minute.
Final score, Queen’s 32, McGill 24.
Caroline Suchorski was named player of the match for the McGill. Third row player (Loren Baldwin of Amherstview, Ont., received the honour on the Gaels side.
Official championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wrugby/index
QUE 10-22: 32
MCG 7-17: 24
QUE - Bronwyn Corrigan try 10th (MCG 0 - QUE 5)
MCG - Deanna Foster try (Brianna Miller convert) 18th (MCG 7 - QUE 5)
QUE - Karley Heyman try 34th (MCG 7 - QUE 10)
QUE - Lauren McEwen penalty kick 46th (MCG 7 - QUE 13)
MCG - Caroline Suchorski try 49th (MCG 12 - QUE 13)
MCG - Emily Challice try (Brianna Miller convert) 57th (MCG 19 - QUE 13)
QUE - Sydnee Nolan try (Bronwyn Corrigan convert) 62nd (MCG 19 - QUE 20)
MCG - Caroline Suchorski try 64th (MCG 24 - QUE 20)
QUE - Bronwyn Corrigan try (Lauren McEwen convert) 69th (MCG 24 - QUE 27)
QUE - Lauren McEwen try 76th (MCG 24 - QUE 32)
Players of the game
QUE: Loren Baldwin (Amherstview, Ont.)
MCG: Caroline Suchorski (Kirkland, Que.)
POOL STANDINGS, SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Pool A preliminary round (FINAL)
GP W L T PF PA PTS
1. Guelph 2 2 0 0 68 12 10
2. McGill 2 1 1 0 19 41 4
3. StFX 2 0 2 0 22 56 0
Pool B preliminary round (FINAL)
GP W L T PF PA PTS
1. Alberta 2 2 0 0 88 22 10
2. Queen’s 2 1 1 0 31 49 4
3. Laval 2 0 2 0 27 75 1
NOTE 1: A win is worth 4 points and a tie 2 points.
NOTE 2: 1 bonus point is awarded for scoring 4 tries or more in a game.
NOTE 3: 1 bonus point is awarded for a loss by 7 points or less.
Thursday, Oct. 31
10:30 Pool A: Guelph 37, StFX 12
13:30 Pool B: Queen’s 19, Laval 17
Friday, Nov. 1
10:30 Pool A: McGill 19, StFX 10
13:30 Pool B: Alberta 56, Laval 10
Saturday, Nov. 2
10:30 Pool A: Guelph 31, McGill 0
13:30 Pool B: Alberta 32, Queen’s 12
Sunday, Nov. 3
10:00 Fifth place: StFX 45 vs. Laval 20
12:00 Bronze medal: Queen’s 32 vs. McGill 24
14:00 Championship final: Guelph 10 vs. Alberta 29