Claragh Pegg believes this year’s women’s rugby team has the chemistry necessary to succeed.
The Gaels defeated the Trent Excalibur 62-15 on Saturday in the OUA quarter-final. Queen’s has yet to lose a game this season in OUA action.
The team is one win away from qualifying for the CIS National Championships — an honour they fell just short of in 2011.
“There’s more of a family feeling this year,” Pegg, the team captain, said. “Not going to [Nationals] last year really put a hunger in us to work hard.”
“All off-season we’ve been working our butts off, doing all we can to be better as a unit, and I think all the hours in the gym this summer really paid off.”
Third-year forward Bronwyn Corrigan recorded four tries and four converts against Trent. She finished second in the OUA in regular-season scoring, and now sits first after one playoff game.
“[Corrigan] had 28 points on the day, so it’s nice when you get half of your season total in one game,” said head coach Beth Barz. “She was identifying gaps three, four or five seconds ahead of time, so that was awesome.”
Within 21 minutes, the Gaels held a comfortable 24-0 lead. Barz attributed her team’s success to a well-structured game plan.
“We really knew what we [were up] against, so we changed our strategy a little bit,” she said. “We just kicked the ball down the field a little bit more instead of having to run into bodies.”
The Gaels executed their game plan effectively, spinning the ball wide and using their speed to score three tries off runs of 15 yards or more.
First-year centre Nadia Popov scored 14 points and set up winger Caitie Ryan for an impressive 45-yard run for a try.
“I think it’s been clear if we play our game, we have the ability to do great things,” Popov said.
With the victory, the Gaels advance to the OUA semi-finals, where they’ll host the Waterloo Warriors on Oct. 20 at Nixon Field.
Waterloo finished second in the OUA Shields (West) division at 5-1, defeating the Western Mustangs 24-7 in the quarter-final.
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