The undefeated Queen’s Gaels can finally shift their focus to the post-season.
Queen’s capped off a perfect 6-0 regular season in style, cruising past the York Lions 72-11 at home last Friday.
If they win their quarter- and semi-final games, the Gaels will qualify for the CIS national championship. They’re unlikely to be beaten prior to the OUA final.
“The girls put in a lot of time in the off-season,” Gaels head coach Beth Barz said. “This is when we get to see it pay off.”
The Gaels made the OUA final in 2010 and placed fifth at nationals — the best result in team history. Queen’s is currently ranked third in the CIS rankings, signalling the possibility of an even deeper run.
Barz believes the transition to playoffs will help her team shift into a higher gear.
“I think one of the reasons we came out a bit flat [against York] was that we’re just sort of waiting for the next step,” Barz said.
“We want another challenge, and I think [the girls] just need a chance to shift their focus again.”
Forwards Kayla Roote and Taylor White led the team past York with three tries each. Barz noted the strong play of first-year centre Nadia Popov, who sits fourth in OUA scoring.
“[Popov] played really well,” Barz said. “[She] had one try and a couple conversions, but also had some opportunities to set some people up [for a try].”
Despite using bench players for the second straight week, Barz said she feels her team is playing at a top level.
“Again, we’ve had some different combinations in terms of our players on the field, so it took a bit to settle down, and we looked pretty good after that.”
Queen’s will face the Trent Excalibur tomorrow in the OUA quarter-final at Nixon Field.
The Gaels won their regular season matchup 55-8.
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