Women's rugby shines against Varsity Blues

Gaels win big to extend winning streak to three

Lauren McEwen scored 28 of the Gaels 106 points against the Varsity Blues.
Lauren McEwen scored 28 of the Gaels 106 points against the Varsity Blues.

On a chilly Saturday night under the lights, the women’s rugby team offence ignited to stay undefeated.

The Gaels (3-0) had no problem getting by the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (0-3), winning 106-3 on Nixon Field.

For captain Lauren McEwen, the Gaels offence is founded on the team’s ability to defend.

“The heart of our team is in our defence; we are really proud of our defensive effort,” McEwen said. “[Defence] is something that we always focus on because our offence will come if our defence is excellent.”

Within the first five minutes of play, McEwen completed conversions on tries from Sadie Stephenson and Emma Chown, putting the home side up 14-0. While the Varsity Blues attempted to push down the field against the Gaels, costly turnovers allowed for Stephenson and Chown to get their second tries of the game.

Rookie McKinley Hunt added another try before Toronto scored its only points of the day — from a penalty kick — before Chown, McEwen and scrum-half Lauren Murray put the Gaels up 64-3 at halftime.

A tightened defensive effort in the second half shut out Toronto, with the away side barely able to pass the halfway line. With the Gaels pouncing on turnovers, Miranda Seifert, Darcy Hansen, Lydia Salgo, Genevieve Kasa-vubu and Hannah Greenwood all added tries of their own.

To cap off the night, Emma Chown added two more tries in the second half, stretching the Gaels winning streak to three games.

The 106-point offensive outburst is the team’s highest total since 2007. The Gaels — who now sit fourth in the CIS rankings — were led in scoring on the day by McEwen, scoring 28 total points.

With 10 different Gaels scoring tries, McEwen praised her team for their unselfish play.

“We are really proud of ourselves because it was a team effort,” she said. “Our tries were team tries, and I think that we executed the game plan that we wanted.”

In a team where almost half its players are rookies — one third of the starting lineup is in their first year with the team — younger players have a big role to play.

“Our team’s success is dependent on how much our rookies bought into our system,” McEwen said. “I’m absolutely blown away by their performances.”

“How much we came together as a team in such a short amount of time and playing for each other is inspiring.”

When asked about the Gaels’ play, head coach Beth Barz said she believes the total team effort was integral to the result.

“There is no one person who is going to be the go-to player all the time,” Barz said.

“You win games and championships as a team.”

The Gaels play next against the York Lions on Friday, Oct. 2 in Toronto.

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