Stingers win opener at CIS championship
ANTIGONISH, N.S. (CIS) – In their first pool B game of the CIS women’s rugby championship, the RSEQ champion Concordia Stingers made a statement with a 29-0 shutout over the Queen’s Gaels, Friday afternoon at Oland Stadium.
The loss eliminates Queen’s from medal contention as the OUA silver medallists had dropped a 53-10 decision to the tournament host StFX X-Women on Thursday and end the preliminary round with an 0-2 record. The Gaels will play Acadia for fifth place Sunday at 10 a.m. Atlantic Time.
Concordia (1-0) will battle StFX (1-0) Saturday at 1:30 p.m. for top spot in pool B and a berth in Sunday’s Monilex Trophy final at 1 p.m. The Stingers are still looking for their first CIS title, having lost in overtime to the X-Women in their only appearance in the national final, in 2010.
Bianca Farella, the CIS rookie of the year and all-Canadian from Montreal, scored two tries for the winners, while fly half Jackie Tittley of Kirkland, Que., contributed nine points with a penalty goal and three converts.
Farella said after the match the Stingers were happy with how they were able to contain the Gaels.
“We were able to read them (Queen’s) to see what they were doing, we communicated well with each other, we were able to track them.”
She continued saying Concordia was confident entering the contest against Queen’s.
“We knew we could come out strong, we believed it and overcame it. Our team did very well, I am so proud of us.”
The first half was low scoring, as the Stingers were the only team to hit the score sheet, posting a 7-0 lead after 35 minutes of play.
In the opening minute of the game, Tittley attempted a penalty goal but it was short. However, Concordia’s physical play and pressure early on resulted in a try by prop Erika Ikonomopoulos of Laval, Que., who pushed through to cross the try line in the 10th minute. The ensuing convert by Tittley gave the Stingers the early 7-0 lead.
Queen’s fullback Natalie Poirier of Carp, Ont., had a nice 40-yard run to bring the ball into Stingers territory at the 17-minute mark. The favorable field position led to Gaels pressure for several minutes. Two plays were held up, however, and the Stingers defense played well to keep the Gaels off the try line.
Concordia scrum half Samantha Bennett of Ottawa broke through for an open field run for 30 yards with less than two minutes left in the first half but no scoring ensued.
Early in the second half, Bennett thought she had scored a try for the Stingers but the ball was touched a second time in the try zone and the play called back.
The Stingers continued to surge forward, and after having the play called back, flanker Liza Myers of Windsor, N.S., pushed across the line and scored Concordia’s second try of the game in the 42nd minute. Tittley made good on her second conversion of the day to increase the lead to 14-0.
Tittley kicked a penalty goal in the 48th minute to make it 17-0 and Farella padded the advantage when she scored her first try of the game in the 58th minute. Tittley’s conversion gave the Stingers a 24-0 lead with 11 minutes to play.
The Gaels were unable to mount any significant scoring chances the rest of the way and Farella rounded out the scoring with her second try (unconverted) in the 66th minute as she broke free and ran the ball down the far sideline.
GAME NOTES: Concordia and StFX have already met on three occasions this season in exhibition play. The X-Women easily handled the Stingers by scores of 56-5 and 55-14 in early September, followed by a 51-3 victory in Montreal on October 6th.
CON 7-22: 29
QUE 0-0: 0
CON - Erika Ikonomopoulos try (Jackie Tittley convert), 10th minute
CON – Liza Myers try (Jackie Tittley convert), 42nd
CON – Jackie Tittley penalty goal, 48th
CON – Bianca Farella try (Jackie Tittley convert), 58th
CON – Bianca Farella try, 66th
Players of the game
CON: Bianca Farella (Montreal, Que.)
QUE: Taylor White (Bancroft, Ont.)
Official championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wrugby/index