Veterans spur comeback win

26 unanswered points lead the Gaels past York

A surprisingly feisty York Lions team gave Queen’s a tougher-than-expected challenge this weekend.

The nationally third-ranked Gaels earned a 38-15 comeback road victory on Friday night. Leading 15-12 with less than 30 minutes left in the game, the Lions looked capable of pulling off a huge upset, before the veteran Gaels rallied to score 26 unanswered points to end the game.

Queen’s improved their record to 2-0 in the OUA, while the Lions fell to 1-1.

“It was a bit of a slow start for us,” said Gaels head coach Beth Barz. “The lights at York were not particularly fantastic, so we needed a little bit of an adjustment there, but the girls really challenged themselves to play a stronger second half.”

For the second straight week, the Gaels gave up an early try on defence, as York took a 5-0 lead just five minutes into the game. However, the Lions’ lead was short-lived, as Gaels rookie Karley Heyman scored a try and third-year centre Lauren McEwen converted to give Queen’s a 7-5 lead.

McEwen racked up 13 points in the match to lead all scorers, after scoring 13 points against McMaster last weekend.

Fourth-year forward Kayla Roote scored later in the first half to give the Gaels a 12-5 halftime lead, but the upset-minded Lions came back refocused after the intermission, scoring two quick tries to take a 15-12 advantage.

“A lot of the York girls play together on the Toronto Saracens club in the Ontario Women’s League over the summer. They had four months to play together and get used to each other’s tendencies,” Barz said. “The Lions competed really hard and they did very well.”

That’s when the Queen’s veteran leaders took over the game, with fourth-year prop Claragh Pegg giving the Gaels a lead they never relinquished. Co-captain Taylor White made a key play on a ruck which led to Pegg’s try, giving Queen’s a 17-15 lead.

“Our captains really played well last night, especially once we were down a bit,” Barz said. “It was nice to see the captains putting the team on their back when we needed it.”

With victory in sight, the Gaels pummeled the Lions in the final 30 minutes of the game, with Devon Stride, Miranda Seifert and McEwen all adding tries as the Gaels’ lead ballooned.

While the final margin of victory wasn’t as impressive as last season’s 72-11 win over the Lions, Queen’s earned its first road win of 2013 with a 38-15 final score.

Queen’s will also be on the road next Friday, as the Gaels will travel to Peterborough to face the Trent Excalibur (1-1).

OUA East Women's Rugby Standings

1. Queen’s [2-0] ― 10 pts
2. York [1-1] ― 5 pts
3. McMaster [1-1] ― 5 pts
4. Trent [1-1] ― 4 pts
5. Toronto [1-1] ― 1 pts

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