Game 3 Pool A CIS women’s rugby championship: Defending champ StFX off to 4th straight final
Photo credit Matt Stetson
PETERBOROUGH, Ont. (CIS) – The defending champion St. Francis Xavier X-Women advanced to the final of the CIS women’s rugby championship for the fourth straight year thanks to a 20-5 win over the Lethbridge Pronghorns in their round-robin finale, Saturday morning, at Trent University’s Justin Chiu Stadium.
StFX, which crushed tournament host Trent 76-3 in its opening match on Thursday, ends the preliminary round atop the pool A standings with a 2-0 record. In Sunday’s title match at 2 p.m., the X-Women will face either Guelph or Laval, who battle for first place in pool B later on Saturday.
It will mark the fourth consecutive appearance in the Monilex trophy final and the fifth in program history for StFX. The 14-time Atlantic conference champions claimed the CIS banner in 2006 with a 10-5 gold-medal win over Guelph and a year ago with a 17-12 overtime victory over Concordia, and lost to Lethbridge in back-to-back championship games in 2008 (29-15) and 2009 (20-3).
Lethbridge (1-1) finishes second in group A and will play for bronze Sunday at 10 a.m. The Pronghorns, who captured three Monilex trophies in a row from 2007 to 2009, were defeated 10-8 by Guelph in last year’s third-place duel.
All-Canadian Magali Harvey, a native of Quebec City, led the way on Saturday for StFX with 10 points on a try, a penalty goal and a convert, while Sara Kalijuvee of Ajax, Ont., and all-Canadian Lisa Gauther of St. Bernardin, Ont., also reached the try line for the winners.
Lethbridge’s points came on a try by Juhee Thompson of
Mountain View, Alta.
StFX head coach Mike Cavanagh attributed the win to his squad’s defence.
“We played well defensively today and did a great job of applying pressure and forcing turnovers. I don’t think our best players were our best players today, but I was happy to see everyone step up in support.”
Neil Langevin, the Lethbridge sideline boss, was also complimentary of the X-Women defensive unit.
“I want to give full credit to the X back line, they played a strong game and kept us on our toes,” said Langevin. “With that said I’m proud of our girls. They battled hard to the end. We had a couple of tough breaks and unfortunate loss of possessions on line breaks. We’re going to regroup tonight, and work to complete our chances tomorrow.”
Gauthier got things started for the X-Women when her 60 metre-run brought the ball deep into Lethbridge territory. The ball found its way to Harvey, who took a pass and burst around the Pronghorn defence for an unconverted try.
Much of the next 15 minutes was played between the 22-metre lines, until a lengthy run and a knock-on found the X-Women with a scrum near the Lethbridge five-metre line. Tyson Beukeboom of Uxbridge, Ont., also a CIS all-star, pulled the ball out of the scrum and, two passes later, Kalijuvee scored the try, which Harvey converted for a 12-0 lead.
With time winding down in the opening half, the Canada West champion Pronghorns were deep in StFX territory. Prop Brandi Van Eeuwen of Duncan, Alta., took the ball and bowled over Harvey at the goal line as time expired, but knocked the ball on in the process.
On the strength of their late surge in the first half, the Pronghorns opened the second period on fire. Three minutes after the break, Lethbridge got a maul together and drove a strong 10 metres, when Thompson came loose with the ball and score the unconverted try to cut the deficit to 12-5.
Lethbridge would not get any closer however.
Harvey added a penalty goal in the 45th minute to give her team a 10-point cushion and Gauthier closed out the scoring with an unconverted try in the 60th minute.
Gauthier took home player-of-the-game honours for the victors, while Van Eeuwen earned the nod for Lethbridge.
SFX: 12-8: 20
LET: 0-5: 5
SFX: Magali Harvey try 5th minute
SFX: Sara Kalijuvee try (Magali Harvey convert) 19th
LET: Juhee Thompson try 38th
SFX: Magali Harvey penalty goal 45th
SFX: Lisa Gauthier try 60th
Players of the game
SFX: Lisa Gauthier
LET: Brandi Van Eeuwen
Try: 5 points
Penalty goal: 3 points
Convert: 2 points
POOL STANDINGS, SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Pool A (FINAL)
GP W L T PF PA PTS
1. StFX 2 2 0 0 96 8 9
2. Lethbridge 2 1 1 0 40 20 5
3. Trent 2 0 2 0 3 111 0
GP W L T PF PA PTS
1. Guelph 1 1 0 0 53 19 5
2. Laval 1 1 0 0 24 10 4
3. McMaster 2 0 2 0 29 77 0
NOTE 1: A win is worth 4 points and a tie 2 points.
NOTE 2: 1 bonus point is awarded for scoring 4 tries or more in a game.
NOTE 3: 1 bonus point is awarded for a loss by 7 points or less.
Thursday, Nov. 3
10:30 Round-Robin Pool A: StFX 76 Trent 3
13:30 Round-Robin Pool B: Laval 24 McMaster 10
Friday, Nov. 4
10:30 Round-Robin Pool A: Lethbridge 35 Trent 0
13:30 Round-Robin Pool B: Guelph 53 McMaster 19
Saturday, Nov. 5
10:30 Round-Robin Pool A: StFX 20 Lethbridge 5
13:30 Round-Robin Pool B: Laval vs. Guelph (SSN Canada webcast)
Sunday, Nov. 6
10:00 5th place: Trent vs. McMaster (SSN Canada webcast)
12:00 Bronze medal: Lethbridge vs. second place Pool B (SSN Canada webcast)
14:00 Championship final: StFX vs. first place Pool B (SSN Canada webcast)