Welcome to Weekend Watch, your weekly preview of all the best action that can’t be missed across Canada West, the OUA, RSEQ and AUS.
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Gryphons, Gee-Gees begin conference title defence
The women’s rugby season begins this weekend and with it comes a pair of intriguing matchups.
Guelph @ McMaster
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
On Saturday, the three-time defending OUA champion and reigning U SPORTS silver medalist Guelph Gryphons visit the McMaster Marauders in their season opener. The Gryphons went a combined 8-0 last season in OUA regular season, playoffs and national championship action, before falling in the U SPORTS title match 41-24 to the StFX X-Women. Long-time head coach Colette McAuley returns for her 13th season behind the bench after leading the Canadian rugby sevens team at the 2019 FISU Summer Unviersiade in Naples, Italy in July. McAuley’s squad will be looking to capture the program’s first U SPORTS banner since 2011.
Ottawa @ Sherbrooke
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT
In Quebec, the Sherbrooke Vert & Or will host the Ottawa Gee-Gees in their RSEQ season opener. The Gee-Gees, who have won the last five conference titles, took home the 2017 U SPORTS championship and will host the 2019 edition in November. The 2019 campaign will also look a little different in the RSEQ this year, as the conference has been split into two tiers similar to the OUA. Carleton, Laval, Ottawa, and Sherbooke will form Division 1, while Bishop’s, Concordia, McGill and Montreal make up Division 2.
RSEQ and OUA regular season open up 2019 season
The women’s soccer campaign also starts this week in two of the four conferences.
Montreal @ Bishop’s
Friday, 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
The Montreal Carabins opened their RSEQ title defence with a bang on Wednesday, beating Sherbrooke 11-0 and will visit the Bishop’s Gaiters on Friday night. The team picked up right where they left off, after going 10-0-4 in the regular season en route to their first conference championship since 2013.
Ottawa @ Ontario Tech
Saturday, 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT
Meanwhile, the defending OUA and U SPORTS champion Ottawa Gee-Gees head to Oshawa, Ont., on Saturday to battle 2016 conference champion Ontario Tech. Fresh off a 20-1-1 combined mark last year capped off by a national title on home field, the Gee-Gees have also been selected to compete in the inaugural FISU University World Cup – Football in November. Former U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian Katherine Bearne, and 2018 championship all-star Thea Nour are both back from the Summer Universiade and ready to lead the squad.
Guelph @ York
Saturday, 3:15 p.m. ET/12:15 p.m. PT
On the men’s side, the defending OUA champion York Lions host the Guelph Gryphons Saturday in the season opener for both sides. The teams finished in the top two spots on the OUA east division last season, and have combined to win five of the last six conference titles. The margin for error will be thin, with the Lions going 13-0-3 last season while the Gryphons had a 10-4-2 mark.
UBC @ Thompson Rivers & UBC Okanagan
Saturday, 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT
Sunday, 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT
Out west, the only Top 10 battle of the week sees the No.5 and reigning CW champion UBC Thunderbirds (2-0-0) visit the No. 9 Thompson Rivers Wolfpack (0-0-0) Saturday, before heading to Kelowna Sunday to take on the UBC Okanagan Heat (1-1-0). The Thunderbirds are coming off a 2-0 win at Fraser Valley and a 3-2 victory at home against Trinity Western as the season opened last weekend