The Guelph Gryphons used stingy defense and a relentless offense to score a convincing 54-10 win over the Victoria Vikes in the third of four quarterfinal matches at the USports women's rugby championships Nov. 1 in Wolfville.
The Gryphons scored six unanswered tries, all but one of them successfully converted, in the second half to blow open what had been a close 14-10 game at halftime.
The match had the makings of a close contest early, with no scoring in the first 12 minutes. Julia Schell got Guelph on the scoreboard with her first of two tries in the game at the 12:45 mark. Madison Brattan, who would be good on seven of eight conversions in the game, made no mistake, kicking the ball through the uprights for a 7-0 Gryphons lead.
Victoria struck back about three minutes later, with Maddy Aberg making good on a penalty kick to narrow the lead to 7-3.
Schell scored her second try of the half at the 18:30 mark, with Brattan adding the convert to give Guelph a 14-3 lead.
Again, the Vikes responded, this time with a try from Victoria Player of the Game Durp Dhaliwal. Aberg was good on the convert, making the score 14-10 Guelph at the halftime intermission.
The second half was all Gryphons, as the Guelph defense stifled Victoria at every turn while scoring pretty much at will on offense.
Alexandra Everett (at 36:47), Talia Hoffman (at 45:01), Everett again (at 47:52), Claire Traversa (at 59:25), Hoffman again (at 62:06) and Jasmine Ing (at 67:33) had the second half tries for Guelph.
Everett, chosen the Gryphons' Player of the Game, said the keys to victory were stout defense and strong team play.
“It was a team win,” the fourth-year veteran said after the game. “That's the way we play. It's all about team for us. We call ourselves the 'Gryphon family', and we all play for each other.”
To Everett, consistent success on defense was the key to success on offense. “Everyone had to focus,” she said. “Two hard stops on defense” early in the second half proved to be the turning point that allowed the Gryphons to “open up on offense” and break open a close game.
“Playing good defense comes first and good defense leads to good offense.”
With the win, Guelph advances to the semifinal round Nov. 2 against the winner of the late quarterfinal between Ottawa and the host Acadia Axewomen. Victoria, relegated to the consolation bracket, will meet the loser of the Ottawa-Acadia game on Saturday afternoon.
- GUELPH – 14-40-54
- VICTORIA – 10-0-10
- GUELPH – Julia Schell try (Madison Brattan conversion good) 12:45
- VICTORIA – Maddy Aberg penalty kick 15:49
- GUELPH – Julia Schell try (Madison Brattan conversion good) 18:30
- VICTORIA – Gurp Dhaliwal try (Maddy Aberg conversion good) 21:08
- GUELPH – Alexandra Everett try (Madison Brattan conversion good) 36:47
- GUELPH – Talia Hoffman try (Madison Brattan conversion good) 45:01
- GUELPH – Alexandra Everett (Madison Brattan conversion good) 47:52
- GUELPH – Claire Traversa try (Madison Brattan conversion good) 59:25
- GUELPH – Talia Hoffman try (conversion failed) 62:06)
- GUELPH – Jasmine Ing try (Madison Brattan conversion good)
Players of the game
- GUELPH – Alexandra Everett
- VICTORIA – Gurp Dhaliwal
As the official Rugby Ball Supplier of U SPORTS, Gilbert Rugby Canada will provide match balls and other prizing to the 2018 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship hosted by Acadia University from Nov.1-4 at Raymond Field in Wolfville, N.S.