Women’s rugby opens season with historic victory

Gaels overwhelm Western Mustangs 135-0

Nixon Field witnessed the Gaels win by their largest margin of all time.
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Journal File Photo

The women’s rugby team started their season on Monday with a monumental 135-0 victory over Western, the most points scored in one game in team history. The win has lifted the Gaels up three spots in the national rankings to the number five seed.

In All-Canadian McKinley Hunt’s triumphant return from the ACL injury that cost her last season, she scored a try on the game’s first possession, setting the tone for the ensuing rout. Hers was followed by two quick tries from reigning U Sports MVP Sophie de Goede and the rookie Taylor Black.

By the 15th minute, the Gaels were up 22-0, and they didn’t look back.

After tries from Lizzie Gibson, Hannah Daniels, Carmen Izyk, and three more from Black, the Gaels closed out the first half 80-0.

The pace of the second half slowed slightly but the domination continued, with impressive displays from Maddy Kushner and Rachel Hickson.

The win was a major team effort, with 11 different Gaels scoring points. Also a factor in the victory was the Gaels’ shut-out defensive performance, which quashed the Mustangs’ moral.

"Outcomes like this are the result of individual efforts,” said Head Coach Dan Valley following the victory. “I was really pleased with the way we were able to build pressure through phases and score within the confines of our shape."

The season opener also served as a remarkable Queen’s debut for first-year fly-half Black, who had five tries, leading the team in scoring and earning her Queen’s Athlete of the Week honours.

Valley predicts that Black and other first years will play a substantial role in this year’s squad: “We're bringing in first-year athletes that have played at a very high clip and are very talented athletes. I couldn't be any happier for where we're at.”

The Gaels next match is this Sunday, Sept. 7 at 1:00 p.m. as they host McMaster at Nixon Field.

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