Original Article – Braedan Willis, Vikes Communications
Kingston, ON – March 25, 2019: Exactly three weeks after claiming their second-straight Canada West banner, the University of Victoria Vikes women’s rugby 7s team captured the 2019 National University 7s championship title on the grounds of the Kingston Military Community Sport Centre in Kingston, Ont. on Mar. 24. The Vikes went undefeated in the tournament, reaffirming their place as one of the premier women’s rugby schools in Canada.
“I am so proud of our teams effort all season and this was the perfect way to cap it off,” said Vikes head coach Brittany Waters. “This was some of our best and most consistent rugby all year. We played to our strengths all weekend and stuck to our game plan, which was to play a wide game, maintain possession off restarts and to play a fast up-tempo game.”
The Vikes found themselves up against a familiar foe in the championship final. On Day 1 of the tournament, Victoria defeated Sherbooke by a score of 27-12 during pool play.
The Vikes led from the outset in the final to bring Sherbrooke’s Cinderella story of hoisting the cup to an end. The dominant victory ended 30-0 in Victoria’s favour, as they will head back to B.C. with another piece of hardware. Sherbrooke had downed two previously unbeaten teams en route to the final, topping the Alberta Pandas in the quarters and the Guelph Gryphons in overtime of the semis.
Brooke Bazian finished second in tournament scoring as she registered a total of 45 points through the Vikes’ six matches.
Victoria cruised past Laval in the quarterfinals by a score of 31-5 but needed a come from behind, second half effort in their semi final game against the Queen’s Gaels to advance to the final. Down two, the Vikes found their game in second half and went on to defeat the Gaels 24-14.
“The part of the weekend that impressed me most was how the girls continued to build off each game and kept elevating their performance,” commented assistant coach Mandy Marchak.
The national title caps off a very successful year for Brittany Water’s squad who already has a Canada West silver medal, a 5th place finish at the 15s national championships back in the fall and the Canada West 7s banner they claimed earlier in March for a second consecutive year.
For fifth-year Gurp Dhaliwal this tournament was the last time she will wear Vikes colours as she is set to graduate at the end of the school year. Dhaliwal scored two tries in the championship final.
“Gurp had a fantastic final weekend as a Vike,” added Marchak. “She owned the kickoffs all tournament long as we were able to retain the ball in many occurrences just from a few outstanding individual efforts she made. We want to thank her for everything she has done for own program and wish her all the best in her future.”