2010 OUA women's rugby championship preview
Photo credit Guelph Athletics
HAMILTON, Ont. – The OUA women's rugby championship comes down to a battle of the undefeated. Both the Queen's Gaels and the Guelph Gryphons have yet to lose a match in 2010. The No. 6 Queen's will look to win their first championship on home turf on Saturday, October 30 against the defending champions and No. 2 nationally-ranked Gryphons.
In five games the Gryphons averaged a whopping 76 points per game, scoring 380 total. Guelph impressively allowed no points against in the regular season. Their biggest defeat came against the Laurier Golden Hawks with a score of 112-0.
Guelph allowed their only points of the season against the Western Mustangs in the OUA quarterfinals. They cruised through the semis against McMaster with a score of 39-0 to head into the finals and vie for their tenth OUA title.
The Gryphons also boast five all-stars and two major award winners. This year's most valuable player award went to Guelph's eightman Jacey Murphy (Alliston, Ont.). Teammate Brittany Benn (Napanee, Ont.) is also a key to the Guelph offence as fly half. The three-time All-Star led OUA in scoring with 99 points in the regular season.
Dominique Monaghan (Markham, Ont.) made an impact in her first season in OUA winning the Gilbert Canada rookie of the year award. Other mentionable Gryphons in Guelph's arsenal are All-Stars Caitlin Beaton (Clavering, Ont.), Jane Kirby (Brampton, Ont.) and Stephanie deVries (Ariss, Ont.).
Over in the Shiels division, the Queen's Gaels have a lot to be proud of. Since the inception of women's rugby in OUA in the 1999-00 season, Queen's has never reached a final. Although Guelph is no stranger to the pressure of competing for a championship, Queen's has steadily improved to become one of the best teams in the league.
Throughout the regular season, the Gaels were unstoppable with the likes of numerous veterans. In the quarterfinals, Queen's defeated Toronto 44-5 at home and the next weekend had a tougher time beating out the surprising Warriors. Queen's advanced after defeating Waterloo 15-8.
Centre Andrea Wadsworth (Toronto) is looked upon to be a driving force for the Gaels offence after finishing third in scoring in the regular season. Wadsworth along with scrum half Susan Heald (Burlington, Ont.) and centre Karyle Wong (Ottawa) have all been named All-Stars two consecutive years. Jocelyn Poirier (Ottawa) also cracked the top ten in scoring with five tries during the regular season, good for tenth in OUA. The flanker has been a key to the Gaels continuing success as she has been named an All-Star three years in a row.
In the bronze medal match, McMaster will travel to Waterloo to take on the Warriors. The Marauders will be looking to win their third women's rugby OUA bronze medal. The last time the Warriors competed for a medal was in the 2007 season when they lost to Western in the finals, 69-0.
Shiels Division coaches of the year Jay and Leslie Shaw have watched the Warriors steadily improve and hope to continue their winning ways this weekend. They'll be looking to Caitlin Martin (Teeswater, Ont.) to push through the tough Marauder defence. The fullback scored a team high 20 points this season. Martin along with eightman Sam Eyles (Erin, Ont.), prop Briana Cunningham (Waterloo, Ont.) and lock Renee Woodhouse (Stratford, Ont.) were named All-Stars this year.
It will be a battle of coaches of the year in the bronze medal match as McMaster's Sandro Fiorino won the award for the second year in a row in the Russell Division. McMaster's Natasha Turner (Rockcliffe, Ont.) was named the Gilbert Canada most valuable player. The centre finished sixth in OUA scoring with 35 points.
Turner was named an All-Star for the Marauders along with Claire Lockhart (Waterloo, Ont.) who was named rookie of the year, scrum half Allison Morris (Stoney Creek, Ont.) and lock Varsha Tripathi (Kincardine, Ont.).
The bronze medal game starts at 12 p.m. in Waterloo. The OUA final will start at the same time in Kingston. The Gryphons will look to defend their championship title and go for a three-peat while the Gaels vie for their first ever OUA women's rugby championship. TVCogeco Kingston will air the gold medal match from Saturday locally tape delayed on Monday, November 1 at 8:30 p.m.
OUA WOMEN'S RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
Saturday, October 30
OUA Bronze Medal
12:00pm - McMaster @ Waterloo
12:00pm - Guelph @ Queen's