It was all gold for the Gaels at the OUA Women’s Rugby Championships last weekend.
The Gaels overcame the Guelph Gryphons this past Friday in a 33-19 victory to secure back-to-back OUA championships.
The game kicked off aggressively, both teams trying to assert themselves, until Taylor Perry, MA ’25, who played on the Senior Women’s 15s Canadian National team, pulled off a short punt and put the Gaels up early.
With an interception by Mika Matsukubo, HealthSci ’25, that landed the Gaels a try, and Lizzie Gibson’s, ArtSci ’24, conversion, the Gaels took a 12-0 lead early in the game.
It was evident the Gryphons weren’t going down without a fight, responding with a try of their own shortly before the end of the first half.
Sensing the championship game wasn’t over yet, Maggie Banks, Nurs ’24, who has been at the core of the Gaels’ success this season, scored a crucial try of her own. Gibson scored the conversion that brought the Gaels to a 19-5 lead as the second half began.
From here the Gaels lengthened their lead as Siobhan Sheerin, ArtSci ’24, ran in another try for the Gaels.
The Gaels kept up a steady pace with a passing play from Jayden Walker, ArtSci ’24, to Carmen Izyk, Nurs ’24, which eventually made its way to Rachel Cullum, ArtSci ’24. This rounded out the Gaels’ score for the evening at 33 points.
While the Gryphons scored a couple of tries before the end of the second half, it would prove to be insufficient, as the Gaels ended the game 33-19. This game secured both an undefeated season record for the Gaels and marked the team’s second back-to-back OUA Gold title.
With many of the Gaels’ mainstays graduating this spring, Gibson reflected on what it meant to win her final game on Nixon Field.
“The tears will probably come once the crowd’s gone, but it feels really awesome that we got to keep it at Nixon field,” she said in an interview with The Journal. “It’s an unreal feeling playing my last game on Nixon Field and winning, going out with OUA gold.”
Perry reflected on her time as a Gael and compared it to her experience playing for the Canadian National team.
“There’s no fan base like this, you can’t do it without them and when they flood the field afterwards, you can be around all your support, all your family, all of your friends. There’s nothing like that,” she said.
Banks, who was named OUA athlete of the week for the week of Oct. 16-22, spoke about the team’s desire to bring the national title home.
“Obviously, this is a goal of ours every year, and going into my final year with a big group of graduating players, our goal is double banner [OUA and U SPORTS Champions], so we’re halfway there,” Banks said.
Head Coach Dan Valley also spoke on this point. He feels confident with his group heading into the U SPORTS National Championship.
“There’s not a lot of time to make changes at this point. We sort of are who we are, and we’ve just got to focus on recovery and game planning for the next group,” he said. “I think we’re peaking at the right time, and again, this is the second time we’ve been able to put together the lineup we’re capable of putting together, and it’s all sort of coalescing in the right spots at the right time.”
Nov. 1, the Gaels travelled to Quebec City, where they beat the University of PEI Panthers 66-17 in the quarterfinal. They will take on the University of Laval Rouge on Nov. 3. Going into the championship, Queen’s was sitting in the first-place spot of U SPORTS’ rankings, and Laval was in fourth.
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