Women's rugby finishes OUA season with silver medal

Gaels drop provincial championship to Guelph, prepare for nationals

Queen's lost to Guelph in the OUA Finals for the second year in a row.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo
This year’s women’s rugby OUA championship felt like déjà vu.
 
Last Saturday, Queen’s fell to the undefeated Guelph Gryphons 39-14 for a second straight year—capping their season with another silver medal. Having earned their way to the provincial finals, both teams secured spots in the U Sports National Championships set for early November.
 
After giving up a try 10 minutes into the game, the Gaels were unable to find their footing throughout. Queen’s head coach Dan Valley said the match wasn’t what his team had planned or hoped for, adding they didn’t do the job they were set out to do.
 
“I think the better team on the day definitely won, and got the outcome they deserved,” Valley told The Journal in an interview. “We were technically good in
spots and tactically good in spots, and then there were some substantial portions of the game where we were average.”
 
“We’re not at a place yet with our program where we can show up and be average.”
 
Second-year back row Sophie de Goede was removed from play early in the game after suffering a substantial cut to her head. She was stitched up on
the sidelines before she returned to close the match, and tacked on a try in the dying minutes.
 
Earlier last week, de Goede was named the OUA Shiels Division Player of the Year—and Valley doesn’t think it’ll be the only time she receives the honour.
 
“She is obviously innately talented, she works hard to refine her craft, and to see her get rewarded for the work that she puts in … I’m really proud,”
he said.
 
Regardless of the loss against Guelph, the Gaels are guaranteed at least two more games at the coming national championships, hosted by Acadia University
in Wolfville, N.S., from Nov. 1 to 4.
 
They’ll be looking to improve on their result from last year’s tournament, where they finished fifth after a first round loss to the University of Calgary Dinos and a consolation round win over Acadia.
 
This year, despite their provincial finals loss, Valley said he still likes his team’s chancesof playing for a U Sports medal.
 
“It sounds crazy coming off of a performance like this weekend,” Valley said of his team’s prospects at nationals. “The way the results sort of came together, our mistakes were very straightforward.”
 
The focus for the championships will be “tightening up,” Valley added, with a specific goal of cutting down on their shortcomings against Guelph.
 
Over the fall term break, the Gaels will have some well-earned rest. Valley hopes this will leave his team with some extra spring in their step come tournament time.
 
“I think it will go a long way for us in the sense that we have a crew that is fully recharged and fully refreshed,” he said.
 
Based off the recent national rankings, Valley predicts that the Gaels will play St. Francis Xavier (6-0) in the first round of the tournament based off the recent U Sports rankings. Before playoffs began, the Gaels were matched up with St. FX for two exhibition games. They were victorious in both (30-0, 28-22).
 
Headed into their second consecutive national championships, Valley’s optimistic about any matchup his team face.
 
“This tournament is a little different than last year’s in the sense that there’s not a team that we can’t beat, where[as] last year there were a couple that we couldn’t,” he said. “There’s a real possibility that it’s a U Sports gold medal game that we’re in.”

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