Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, June 3


 

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Bob Monette

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Tim Tierney

   


Varsity Girls Rugby
Lady Knights end season a try shy of OFSAA gold
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The St. Peter Knights varsity girls rugby team went to the provincial AAAA/AAA high school championship in Mississauga this week looking to improve on their consolation final win of a year ago.

At last year's tournament, the only thing that kept them from winning a potential medal was a second round upset. They were determined not to make the same mistake this year and didn't, cruising through their first three games and into Wednesday's final.

They opened the tournament with a 54-7 win over Medway High School from London on Monday and followed that up with a 33-7 victory over Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate Tuesday morning to advance to the semi-final where they beat John F. Ross Collegiate from Guelph 17-10.

Their opponents in the final were the Oakville Trafalgar Red Devils, who lost a close game in last year's final. They were determined to win gold, but so were the Knights. For five of the players on St. Pete's, Wednesday's final would be their last chance to win an OFSAA gold medal.

Rachel Delaney, Carolyn Williams, Lydia Salgo, Emily Gray and Kathleen Haggarty are all graduating this year. Salgo, Gray and Haggarty have been with the program for four years.

"We knew going in that we had the silver medal in our back pocket, but our goal was gold," says head coach Pat Thompson.

The two teams were familiar with each other, having trained together for a couple of days in Oakville in April. Thompson happens to be friends with Red Devils head coach Dan Valley.

The idea was to measures themselves up against their potential competition. What they learned, after a lopsided loss to the Red Devils in a scrimmage, was that they needed to work extra hard in what is a very short (four week) high school rugby season if they wanted to fulfill their goal.

In the end, they came within a try of doing just that.

The Red Devils opened the scoring, and by half-time they were up 12-7. The Knights' lone try was scored by Grace Blunden with Emily Gray adding the convert.

Oakville would add another try early in the second half to extend their lead to 17-7. Many teams would have accepted their fate at this point and the silver medal along with it, but St. Peteer girls had other plans and a loftier goal.

Bowed, but far from broken, they stormed back to score two unaswered tries -- the first by Blunden and the second by Haggarty -- to the game at 17-17. Unfortunately, the match would turn on an Oakville throw-in with two minutes left which they took to the wide side of the field and down the wing for the game-winning score.

The Knights did their best to respond with another try, but the Red Devils were equal to the task and kept them at bay to solidify the win.

The silver medal is the first ever OFSAA medal won by the St. Peter rugby program, girls or boys, and it's only the fourth OFSAA medal in school history. The girls basketball team has won two silver and a bronze.

The Knights will be gunning for a third straight city championship and a return to the OFSAA tournament next year behind the leadership of Rachel McCallan, who has received an invitation to try out for Canada's U18 Commonwealth Youth Sevens team next week along with Donato and Williams.

St. Peter has long had a tradition of excellence in boys rugby and football. With a second NCSSAA city championship banner and an OFSAA banner going up on the gymnasium wall next year, you can now add girls rugby to that list.

Team roster: Rachel McCallan, Carolyn Williams, Lydia Salgo, Vanessa Macias, Rachel Delaney, Madison Doyle, Josee Lachance, Alex Clarke, Taylor Donato, Emily Tippins, Sydney Weatherall, Kathleen Haggarty, Emily Gray, Maryn Devine, Silvana Castro, Kyra Cahill, Angela Bolick, Emma Crivello, Quinn Durand, J-M Tashera, Grace Blunden, Veronica Abou Faissal and Kaitlyn Carney.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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