VANCOUVER (CIS) – The Lethbridge Pronghorns captured a
third straight Monilex trophy as CIS women’s rugby champions
with a 20-3 gold-medal victory over the St. Francis Xavier X-Women,
Sunday afternoon at Thunderbird Stadium.
The two powerhouses were meeting in the national final for the second year in a row. Lethbridge beat StFX 29-15 in the title match last season, one year after edging Western Ontario 15-10 in the 2007 final to claim the first CIS banner in program history.
The X-Women, AUS champions 12 years running, were playing for CIS gold for the third time in four seasons. StFX won its lone Monilex trophy in 2006.
The Pronghorns, Canada West gold medallists the last four seasons, were in the driver’s seat all game on Sunday.
Andrea Letal of Calgary, who was named tournament MVP, scored a try 11 minutes into the contest as Lethbridge opened the match with 15 unanswered points on its way to a 15-3 halftime lead.
The X-Women, like every opponent Lethbridge has faced this year, were unable to break down the champions defence once they fell behind.
“We were really composed and the girls followed exactly the game plan we asked them to,” said Lethbridge head coach Neil Langevin, the reigning CIS coach of the year. “The defence has been the hallmark of this group and it’s just a wonderful group to coach. We played defence first. We kept the ball in their end as much as possible and tried to force them into mistakes.”
The strategy paid off as the Pronghorns extended their lead in the 26th minute when sustained pressure in the StFX end of the field resulted in a penalty goal attempt from 20 yards out for two-time CIS player of the year Ashley Patzer. The senior national team member from Lethbridge made no mistake, splitting the uprights to put her side up 8-0.
Brittany Orr of Fort Macleod, Alta., and Patzer, who were both named to the tournament all-star team along with Letal, all but put the game away a few minutes later.
Orr received the ball on the right wing 30 yards from goal, cut back to the middle of the field to beat a defender and score. Patzer’s conversion made it 15-0.
Courtnay Malcolm of New Glasgow, N.S., got StFX on the board before the break, nailing a penalty goal from 20 yards in the 34th minute.
But the X-Women could do nothing offensively in the second half. They pushed deep into Pronghorn territory occasionally but were never able to finish their drives before the Lethbridge defence won the ball back.
“Our back three were important all weekend,” said Langevin. “All the girls did a great job clearing the ball and we credit them a lot because they did face some pressure today.”
Letal added to her MVP credentials early in the second frame rounding out the scoring with another try, this time a 30-yard sprint down the right wing.
The Pronghorn trio of Alex Hendricks of Lomond, Alta., Kelsey Willoughby of Lethbridge and Brandi Van Eeuwen of Duncan, B.C. were also named tournament all-stars.
Three X-Women, Asya Bartley of Ottawa, freshman Tyson Beukeboom of Uxbridge, Ont., and two-time CIS MVP Ghislaine Landry of Toronto, were also selected.
GAME NOTES: Lethbridge is the second team in history to win at least three straight Monilex trophies. The Alberta Pandas claimed five consecutive CIS titles from 1999 to 2003... Lethbridge beat StFX 17-12 in non-conference play this season scoring a 17-12 win at Antigonish, N.S., on Sept. 13...
LETH 15-5: 20
StFX 3-0: 3
1. LETH: Andrea Letal (try, 5 pts)
2. LETH: Ashley Patzer (penalty kick, 3 pts)
3. LETH: Brittany Orr (try, 5 pts), Ashley Patzer (convert, 2 pts)
4. StFX: Courtnay Malcolm (pen. kick, 3 pts)
5. LETH: Andrea Letal (try, 5 pts)
Players of the game
LETH: Ashley Zaremba (Lethbridge, Alta.)
StFX: Jamee George (Brandon, Man.)
Championship MVP: Andrea Letal (Calgary, Alta.), Lethbridge
R.W. Pugh Fair Play award: Concordia Stingers
Prop Asya Bartley (Ottawa, Ont.), StFX
Hooker Mary-Jane Kirby (Brampton, Ont.), Guelph
Prop Brandi Van Eeuwen (Duncan, B.C.), Lethbridge
Lock Danielle Willhoeft (Oakville, Ont.), UBC
Lock Sarah Nesbitt (Regina, Sask.), Concordia
Flanker Stephanie DeVries (Ariss, Ont.), Guelph
Flanker Kelsey Willoughby (Lethbridge, Alta.), Lethbridge
8 Tyson Beukeboom (Uxbridge, Ont.), StFX
Scrum Half Alex Hendricks (Lethbridge, Alta.), Lethbridge
Fly Half Ghislaine Landry (Toronto, Ont.), StFX
Inside Centre Andrea Letal (Calgary, Alta.), Lethbridge
Outside Centre Rahda Jain (Mississauga, Ont.), UBC
Wing Laura Belvedere (Chatham, Que.), Concordia
Wing Brittany Orr (Lethbridge, Alta.), Lethbridge
Fullback Ashley Patzer (Lethbridge, Alta.), Lethbridge
ROUND-ROBIN STANDINGS, SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times LOCAL: PACIFIC)
Final Pool A standings
GP W L T PF PA PTS
1. Lethbridge 2 2 0 0 66 3 9
2. Concordia 2 1 1 0 10 15 4
3. Western 2 0 2 0 3 61 0
Final Pool B standings
GP W L T PF PA PTS
1. StFX 2 1 0 1 28 10 6
2. Guelph 2 1 0 1 15 10 6
3. UBC 2 0 2 0 0 23 1
NOTE: a win is worth 4 points and a tie 2 points.
NOTE 2: 1 bonus point is awarded for scoring 4 tries or more in a game, and 1 bonus point is allowed for a loss by 7 points or less.
Friday, Nov. 6
Round-Robin Pool A: Lethbridge 51, Western Ontario 3
Round-Robin Pool B: StFX 18, UBC 0
Round-Robin Pool A: Concordia 10, Western Ontario 0
Round-Robin Pool B: Guelph 5, UBC 0
Round-Robin Pool A: Lethbridge 15, Concordia 0
Round-Robin Pool B: StFX 10, Guelph 10
Saturday, Nov. 7
Semi-final 1: Lethbridge 25, Guelph 0
Semi-final 2: StFX 13 Concordia 8 (2OT)
Sunday, Nov. 8
5th place: UBC 27, Western Ontario 0
Bronze medal: Guelph 15, Concordia 10
Championship final: Lethbridge 20, StFX 3
- CIS -