Playoff blowout

Gryphons beat Gaels 50-0

For the second consecutive season, the Guelph Gryphons ended the women’s rugby team’s shot at a provincial title.

The Gryphons beat the Gaels 50-0 in Saturday’s OUA semifinal in Guelph to qualify for nationals and advance to next week’s final against the McMaster Marauders.

The Gryphons entered Saturday’s match having won six straight games by a combined 525 points. They haven’t lost a game to Ontario opposition since 2007. They beat the Gaels 54-5 in last year’s final to win their fourth OUA title in five seasons.

The Gaels’ preseason goal was to return to the national tournament — which could have been accomplished if not for an Oct. 1 loss to the McMaster Marauders. The loss bumped Queen’s into the second spot in the OUA’s Russell Division.

McMaster’s first-place status allowed them to clinch a national championship berth without facing Guelph. They cruised to a 31-0 semifinal win over the Brock Badgers on Saturday, automatically earning a spot at nationals as one of the top two teams in Ontario.

Scrum half Susan Heald said the Gaels didn’t question their goal of a return to nationals.

“We set the standard so high at the beginning of the season,” she said. “We … talked like ‘when [nationals] happen’, not ‘if [nationals] happen.’” Heald, the team’s captain, said the Gaels approached the game against the heavily-favoured Gryphons expecting to win.

“We went in with the right mindset … to get out the win,” she said. “Obviously, 20 minutes in, we realized that probably wasn’t going to happen.”

Despite the blowout, head coach Beth Barz said the game was an improvement from last season’s OUA final.

“It’s unfortunate the score ended up the way it did,” she said. “It’s really not reflective of the level of possession that we had and the key attacking opportunities we had.”

The Gaels will host the Brock Badgers in the bronze medal game on Saturday in a rematch of their 15-14 last-minute win on Sept 17.

The semifinal loss means Queen’s won’t repeat last season’s OUA silver medal and first-ever appearance at nationals. But Barz said the Gaels will be stronger in the next few years.

“We’ve got predominantly first and second year players leading our pack,” she said. “We’ll shoot for a gold next year.”

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