Second half excellence

Gryphons loom next after Gaels down York in OUA quarters

Women’s rugby meet the Guelph Gryphons tomorrow in a rematch of the 2012 and 2013 OUA Finals.
Women’s rugby meet the Guelph Gryphons tomorrow in a rematch of the 2012 and 2013 OUA Finals.

In an unexpected battle against the York Lions, the Gaels held on for victory in last Friday’s OUA quarterfinal.

Forward Miranda Seifert’s three tries led the Gaels to a 41-21 win. With the victory, the women head out on the road to face the Guelph Gryphons in the semi-final tomorrow.

Queen’s and Guelph have met in the last two OUA finals, splitting the championships. The Gaels prevailed 19-15 on the road last October.

“We know we'll be in for an incredibly intense game as it will be a rematch of last year's final and Guelph does not have an appetite for losing,” said Gaels head coach Beth Barz. “We'll need to be relentless, focused and resilient in both attack and defence ourselves.”

Against York, Seifert was quick to get the first try for the Gaels within the first three minutes of play. After a try from wing Karley Heyman made the score 10-0, the Lions battled back with a try and successful conversion to bring the score within three.

Emma Chown — who started at centre for the Gaels in place of Lauren McEwen — scored only minutes later, increasing Queen’s lead.

In the final minutes of the first half, the Lions scored three penalty kicks, cutting the Gaels’ lead to a slim 17-16 margin.

Finishing the first half, the team was shaken by the close score, Barz said.

“At the half we talked about controlling the things that we had in our control and it seemed that the players went out and put that into play,” she said.

The momentum shifted in the second half when Heyman smashed through the Lions’ defence for her second try of the match. Her successful conversion made the score a more comfortable 24-16.

Seifert scored a few minutes later, followed by winger Caitie Ryan’s try of her own.

The Lions scored another try in the final 10 minutes of play, making the score 36-21. Seifert put any doubt to rest, sealing the game with her third try.

In an attempt to give some of their starting players a rest before their semi-final game against Guelph, Barz made some substitutions to the line-up.

The most notable change was Chown taking over for McEwen, the Gaels’ leading scorer this season.

Barz said sitting the players gave them a chance to be operating at 100 per cent against Guelph.

“After a short and incredibly intense season, bodies can be quite sore. I'm sure after some time off we'll have everyone ready to go for next weekend,” she said.

The Gaels have a tough match in front of them, having split the last two OUA finals with the Gryphons. Although the Gaels were victorious last year, it was a close game until the end.

Before that win, Guelph had captured the previous five provincial titles.

When the two teams met in preseason play in August, the Gaels prevailed 29-12. With a win in Guelph, the Gaels would advance to the OUA title game and punch their ticket to the national championships.

Women’s Rugby OUA Playoff Results

OUA Quarterfinals

Queen’s Gaels 41

York Lions 21

Guelph Gryphons 102

Laurier Golden Hawks 0

McMaster Marauders 70

Trent Excalibur 12

Western Mustangs 39

Waterloo Warriors 0

OUA Semi-finals

Saturday Oct. 18, 1 p.m.: Gaels @ Guelph Gryphons

Saturday Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m.: Western Mustangs @ McMaster Marauders

OUA Final

Saturday, Oct. 25, TBA

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