VICTORIA, BC - For the third straight year Burnaby Lake Rugby Club (5-1) and defending Gordon Harris Memorial Cup champions Velox Valkyries (5-1) will square off in the Women's Adidas Premiership provincial final.
Last year's title match went down to the wire as Velox capped off a perfect season with a 20-14 win in dramatic fashion at Klahanie Park.
"That was definitely round two for us after the devastating loss last year," Velox Valkyries captain Sara Levson said at the time.
Round three promises to be just as tightly contested as Velox look to extend their six-game winning streak (including semifinals). The current title holders have lost just once this season, a 76-22 drubbing at the hands of Burnaby in the opening week of play on February 23rd.
"When we played Burnaby at the beginning of the season we only had 13 players so a lot of credit has to go to the team spirit that exists within the group to turn things around," said Velox head coach Oli Scott.
Since their dominant 9-0 season in 2012, Velox has spent much of this year rebuilding due to retiring players and departures from the club.
"Our season has obviously gone well but I think it has been different to last year with such a large exodus of players and everyone who remains has really pulled up their socks," Scott added. "We don't have any 'superstars' this year and it has really been a team effort."
Key players in the team's squad have been forwards Chelsey Minter, Kelsey Oetting and Brittany Sims. The Valkyries' top scorer was Frederique Rajotte who ran in seven tries this season for 35 points.
"The only thing that we know [heading into Saturday] is that the Velox team will bear no resemblance to the team they brought over to play us in the first game of the season," Burnaby head coach Walt Brandl said. "They have a new head coach and new players so although this is the third time in a row we will face them in the final, it is truly the first time have had to deal with this team."
Brandl has relied on the consistency of his veterans throughout the season, their only loss coming at the hands of United back on March 16th. The 24-12 defeat was avenged in the semifinals as Burnaby downed their Lower Mainland rivals 13-5.
Burnaby's offence has once again been led by Canadian national team rep Juila Sugawara who topped the Premiership scoring stats with 65 points this season. The league's second highest scorer was Genevieve Gratton who tallied 59 points.
"The play of Carolyn McEwen has also been superb, both in the sets and in open field," added Brandl. "Maggie Ritchie is fitting in with this team better and better each game she plays."
The 12:00pm final will kick off a Wallace Field triple header with Burnaby also set to feature in the Men's First Division (2:00pm) and Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League Final (4:00pm).
"The big change for us is being part of a monumental club day with three teams in the finals at the same park," Brandl added. "Hopefully this will be a source of energy for the girls."
Velox Valkyries (Women's Prems)
1 Marlene Donaldson; 2 Brittany Sims; 3 Asya Bartley; 4 Carmen Sund; 5 Chelsey Minter; 6 Karen Battie; 7 Kelsey Oetting; 8 Alison McKittrick; 9 Lynzi Anderson; 10 Courtney Sims; 11 Frederique Rajoutte; 12 Samantha Robb; 13 Monique Boag; 14 Cherize DuPrez; 15 Selinia McGinnis
16 Rachel Hansen; 17 Tanysia Commers; 18 Jessie Wallace; 20 Lianna Teeter; 21 Davine Burton
Coach - Oli Scott; Manager - Sarah Levson
Burnaby Lake (Women's Prems)
1 Carolyn McEwen; 2 Kim Donaldson; 3 Iona Schamberger; 4 Abby Goodwin; 5 Katie Grudzinski; 6 Haley Glendinning; 7 Deb Capps; 8 Laura Kinnear-Harmse; 9 Julia Sugawara; 10 Maria Gallo; 11 Becky Querido; 12 Maggie Ritchie; 13 Melissa Miyazaki; 14 Anh Tran; 15 Genevieve Gratton
16 Shannon Fedewa; 17 Jessica Tortora; 18 Brandon Mattin; 19 Shelby Mattin; 20 Taylor Kapaiwai; 21 Nancy Radman; 22 Jean Lehtinen
Head Coach Walt Brandl; Coach Corinne Jacobsen; Manager Roko Kapaiwai
Gordon Harris Memorial Cup Winners
2012 - Velox Valkyries
2011 - Burnaby Lake
2010 - Capilano RFC
2009 - Burnaby Lake
2008 - Velox Valkyries
2007 - Burnaby Lake
2006 - Burnaby Lake
2005 - Nanaimo RFC
2004 - Capilano RFC
2003 - Burnaby Lake
2002 - Douglas Rugby Club
2001 - Douglas Rugby Club
2000 - Simon Fraser University
1999 - Vancouver Rowing Club
1998 - Britannia Lions
1997 - Vancouver Rowing Club
1996 - Britannia Lions
1995 - Britannia Lions
1994 - University of Victoria
1993 - Vancouver Rowing Club
1992 - Vancouver Rowing Club
1991 - Vancouver Rowing Club
1990 - Not Awarded
1989 - Not Awarded
1988 - Not Awarded
1987 - Simon Fraser University
1986 - Simon Fraser University
1985 - Simon Fraser University
1984 - Simon Fraser University
1983 - Not Awarded
1982 - Jericho Old Girls (Unofficial)