Women’s rugby storms to 4-0

Gaels will defend unbeaten season against the University of Toronto this weekend

The women’s rugby team didn’t play the role of ‘gracious guest’ last Friday, coming away with a 27-5 win over the Trent Excalibur during their homecoming weekend. The win pushed the Gaels’ record to 4-0 for the first time since the 2005-2006 season.

Fullback Karlye Wong paced the Gaels with a pair of tries and CIS All-Canadian fly-half Andrea Wadsworth added a try and a convert. Scrum-half Susan Heald and fullback Jocelyn Poirier also put down a try each for the Tricolour to round out the scoring.

Head coach Beth Barz was not only pleased with her team’s effort on the road but also their ability to perform on Trent’s artificial

turf stadium.

“It was nice to pull off a win,” she said. “It’s always interesting to go up to see the Trent fans on homecoming weekend. It’s a transition playing in the lights and on the turf. It’s a different environment for sure.”

Queen’s strength on the pitch was their strong defence, allowing only one try to the Excalibur.

“I think that when we play defence the way we’ve been trying to this year, good things happen,” Barz said. “We create turnovers and then tend to score. We had some hard running efforts, so that certainly worked out well for us.”

The Gaels have only had two home games due to their regular season schedule. With the victory, the Gaels have guaranteed themselves a home playoff game and Barz said she was looking forward to the familiarity of Kingston Field for the game.

“It is nice to [play at] home,” she said. “I certainly know that we can win wherever we play. It’ll be nice to be able to be in our team room and have the comforts of Kingston around us with lots of fans.”

With a home-advantage in the playoffs guaranteed, Barz said the Gaels will concentrate on closing out the regular season before thinking ahead to the postseason.

“We’re certainly not looking that far ahead just yet,” she said. “Quarterfinals and semifinals in the OUA are, I think, one of the toughest things to get through in the country ... We’ve been focusing on controlling whatever we can control and not necessarily looking a whole lot at the other team this year.”

Wadsworth, now in her third year with the team, said that this year’s team has been able to perform physically but has also been mentally tough on the pitch.

“I think a big difference for us this year has been keeping our composure,” Wadsworth said. “The Trent team near the end [of the game] almost turned on themselves and were yelling at each other. Our team has been calm, composed and poised on the field and I think that makes a big difference.”

With one game remaining in the regular season, Queen’s now sits alone atop the Russell Division standings with 19 points.

“[Winning the division] would definitely be a step in the right direction for us,” Wadsworth said. “It would be a huge accomplishment for the team. I feel like Queen’s women’s rugby program has taken some huge leaps forward in the last few years, especially this year.”

The Gaels will host the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, who are 1-2-1, on Friday to close out the season. Wadsworth said the team would not be looking ahead to the playoffs and would be focused on finishing their strong regular season.

“Even though Toronto isn’t doing statistically as well, I don’t think they’re a team that should be taken lightly,” she said. “Every game we’ve been improving on certain aspects and I think that this game could be the game where it all comes together.”

The women’s rugby team’s play has been impressive on the field, dominating their opponents on the scoreboard, like in their match against York, and in composure and confidence like in their close victory over McMaster. However, Wadsworth said the Gaels can still find areas to improve.

“I don’t think offensively we’ve peaked quite yet,” she said. “[It’s] good in a sense, as we’ve still been winning games. I think that when we do click offensively it’s going to be amazing.”

Queen’s will host the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Friday, Oct. 8 at Kingston Field. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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