Mac gives bronze medal effort in OUA women’s rugby

The No. 2 nationally-ranked Guelph Gryphons (8-0) defeated the visiting Western Mustangs 39-7 for the OUA women’s rugby championship on Saturday at the University of Guelph.

In the Ontario University Athletics bronze medal game at McMaster University, the host Marauders defeated the Queen’s Gaels 24-0. Guelph and Western advance to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Women’s Rugby Championship hosted by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver from Nov. 5-8.

Natasha Turner (Palo Alto, Calif.) scored two tries for McMaster while Sara Van Hoof (Lindsay) and Maggie Cogger-Orr (Thornhill) tallied one try each. Allison Morris (Stoney Creek) recorded two converts for four points.

McMaster had the Gaels number this season with Queen’s finishing second to the Marauders in the Russell Division. Queen’s had a 4-1 record earning 19 points while McMaster also had a 4-1 record but tallying 21 points. Head-to-head during the regular season the Gaels lost to McMaster 39-6 in early September at home.

The Gryphons continued their undefeated season with their biggest win yet, capturing the OUA gold medal for the second straight season over the Mustangs. It is Guelph’s ninth OUA championship in 14 seasons.

All season Guelph has been relentless on both ends of the field, allowing just 12 points against and tallying 221 in their favour during the regular season. In windy and muddy conditions, the team capitalized on this high-scoring mobile offence and gritty defence once again.

“We played hard on offence and defence,” said Gryphons head coach Colette McAuley. “Today we put everything on the line to win and it showed. We made good decisions and showed great team continuity between the forwards and backs.”

From the opening kick, the Gryphons played like a well-rounded unit. Almost the entire first half was played in the Western end of the field, as Guelph dominated the scrums allowing for an effective offensive attack. On defence, the Gryphons played ferociously, pinning Western behind their gain line and creating several turnover opportunities.

At the end of the first half the Gryphons led 24-0

In the second half Western was able to gain some momentum. Devanne Whitney (Trenton) scored a try and Laurie Biewald (Ottawa) was able to score a conversion. But it was the only points the Mustangs would get on the board, as the Gryphons continued to dominate the game till the whistle blew.

OUA all-star Brittney Benn (Napannee, Ont.) led the Gryphons in scoring with a pair of tries and converts. Fellow all-star Jacey Murphy (Alliston) and Brittany Sammut (Port Colbourne, Ont.) added two tries, while Caitlin Beaton (Hepworth) chipped in with a try.

Last year, at the 2008 CIS championships, the Gryphons finished third after beating the University of Laval Rouge et Or 22-12 in the bronze medal game.