Women’s rugby's big win caps season

Gaels top York 90-5, head into the OUA playoffs with automatic entry into conference semi-finals

McKinley Hunt (center) makes a tackle at Saturday’s game against York.
McKinley Hunt (centre) makes a tackle at Saturday’s game against York.
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The women’s rugby team concluded their regular season Saturday with a resounding 90-5 victory over the York Lions. 

The Gaels finished their 2018-19 campaign with a 3-1 record. The team has secured second place in the OUA, which will allow them to bypass the first round in the postseason and gain direct admission into the conference semi-finals on Oct. 13. 

Fourth-year McKinley Hunt told The Journal the match was a mental game due to the Lions’ rough style of play. The back-row player said it was important for the team to edge out the intellectual battle, on top of taking the lead on the score board.  

“You don’t want to stoop to their level,” Hunt said of the Lions. “You want to play a clean game.” 

Fellow fourth-year Harlee Bruce noted York has proved a difficult team for the Gaels in recent years. “We never play our best game against them,” she said. “It was mentally trying to get over that and play as well as we could.”

Although the pair of Gaels players felt their performance lagged, the game was never out of their control. They dominated from the outset.

Queen’s earned three quick tries in the first 15 minutes of the match, two of which came from second-year and last season’s U Sports Rookie of the Year, Sophie de Goede. Overall, 12 different Gaels touched down for tries in Saturday’s match, clearing 54-0 by half-time. 

With the postseason around the corner, Queen’s wants to keep pace with their OUA rivals—the Guelph Gryphons—before the season ends.

Guelph remains undefeated this fall, handing the Gaels their only loss this season—a 39-34 defeat in September, where Queen’s rallied a failed 29 point comeback in the second half.  

With the Gryphons atop the OUA standings and the Gaels firmly behind them in second, the two are bound to meet again in the playoffs.

Guelph is the only other team in the OUA that has scored over 200 points in the regular season. Queen’s has 226 points scored across four matches, while the Gryphons lead the OUA at 274.

Defensively, Queen’s has proved impressive as well. They’ve conceded just 68 points this season. It’s good for third in the OUA, but still lags behind Guelph (41) and Brock (39). 

Up next, the women’s team will travel to Ottawa for an exhibition match against St. Francis Xavier on Oct. 6. Due to their entry into the OUA conference semi-finals, the Gaels’ first playoff match will take place at home on Oct. 13.

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