The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds claimed the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association women’s rugby championship with a 14-5 win over the St. Thomas University Tommies, Sunday afternoon at Scotiabank Park South.
Johanna Reid scored the Varsity Reds’ lone try, while Julija Rans converted on three penalty goals.
Marissa Walcott was the only Tommie to get across the try line.
After competing at the club-level for several years, Varsity Reds head coach Kevin Wilson said winning the championship was a tremendous accomplishment.
“It’s outstanding. It’s been about team all year and we knew STU was going to be the team to beat. They’re a very good team and they’re well-coached, so kudos to my players. They were outstanding.”
The Varsity Reds came out with momentum and the Tommies managed to keep them at bay for the first 15 minutes, but Rans put the visitors on the board with a penalty goal midway through the half for a 3-0 UNB lead.
Reid got across the line shortly after, but Walcott cut into the V-Reds lead with a try for the Tommies late in the half. UNB led 8-5 at the break.
The Tommies dominated the beginning of the second half, but weren’t able to capitalize. It was all V-Reds from there, as Rans added two more kicks to secure the win for UNB.
The Tommies beat the Varsity Reds twice in the regular season and Wilson credits his forwards for turning the tide for UNB.
“I told them in our pre-game that the forwards would decide today,” he said. “Our dominance in the scrum was a huge factor, it’s a psychological factor. They beat us both games this season and we really stepped up today.”
For the Tommies, who finished the regular season with an undefeated record of 7-0-1, it was a disappointing finish.
“We weren’t really able to put it together today. We didn’t have the runs that we usually have and it’s all because of them [UNB]. They played an excellent game,” Tommies head coach Meghan MacAfee said.
“The girls played hard. There was a ton of heart on that field, but we just didn’t get the openings we usually have.”
This is the second consecutive year the Tommies lost a hard-fought championship final—last year they fell to the Mount Allison Mounties 10-5 in overtime.
Following the game, Taylor Dube, Kiaya Jorden, Shannon Morris, Jenna Betts, and Marissa Walcott were named ACAA all-conference players for the Tommies. Rookie flyhalf Bailey Andrews was recognized as the conference’s top newcomer and MacAfee was named Coach of the Year.
UNB’s Franc McWilliam, Taylor Morgan, and Gina O’Rourke were named to the all-conference team, while Kirby Morrill was given Player of the Year honours to go along with an all-star selection.