The Gee-Gees women’s rugby team will return to the U SPORTS National Championship tournament for the fourth consecutive season following a 46-14 win over Montreal in the RSEQ conference semi-final on Saturday.
Ottawa will also host the RSEQ Championship for the fourth consecutive season, looking to extend a conference championship streak which began in 2014. The second RSEQ semi-final is being played between Concordia and Laval on Sunday and game information will be confirmed following that game’s conclusion.
Against Montreal, it took a while for Ottawa to chip away at the Carabins defence, but once Danarae Sommerville’s work at the back of a powerful drive of a kickover scrum led to the game’s opening try, Ottawa was able to pour in the points quickly and efficiently.
Showing good execution in line-outs and scrums and forcing a turnover when Montreal threatened, Ottawa controlled the first half. Strong runs from Dria Bennett, Emily Gray, and Alex Ellis set up a try for Lauren Minns. Alex Ondo powered her way to the line for the third try, staying low and driving past several would-be tacklers.
Great communication and teamwork on the fourth Gee-Gee try, which was punched in by Tori Wyman with almost every member of the front eight in pushing each other forward. A powerful run to the sideline by Dria Bennett led quickly to a try by Danielle Erdelyi, and Ottawa led 29-0.
“Everybody had their hands on the ball, everybody was supporting each other, it was a complete team effort,” affirmed Emily Babcock of the first half. “Not a lot of people see all the little stuff but in the back row you have to get all the little stuff taken care of to make the overall team work together.”
“You can’t play this sport alone,” added fifth-year Gee-Gee Danielle Erdelyi. “We look to each other and ask for help when we need it, whether its focus or positivity. Everyone was quick to support today.”
Bennett and Minns each added a try in the second half for Ottawa. Montreal broke up the shutout with its first score right before half time. The Carabins scored again with five minutes remaining in the match to make it 43-14. Both scores were finished by RSEQ first team all-star Ngalula Fuamba.
The U SPORTS National Championship tournament will take place at the University of Lethbridge from Nov. 2-5. Ottawa was silver medal finishers in 2016, bronze medallists in 2015, and finished fourth in its first appearance under head coach Jen Boyd in 2014.
“You just have to take what’s in front of you and just run with it and the girls get that,” noted Erdelyi, who was sidelined by injury last season. “We are hungry. There’s just a lingering feeling from last year that’s been motivating us all year.”