D4/10 rugby girls lock up CWOSSA A/AA tourney berths
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – The CWOSSA 10 high school girls’ rugby A/AA championship tournament combatants have been decided before the District 4/10 league playoffs begin.
The local league gets to send two representatives to the CWOSSA A/AA tournament and one to the AAA tournament. While four of the nine teams in the D4/10 loop qualify for the playoffs, this year’s postseason participants are two from each category – defending OFSAA champion Ross Royals and Orangeville Bears in AAA and Bishop Macdonell Celtics and Erin Raiders in A/AA.
Ross completed its unbeaten march through league play Monday with a 67-7 win over the Wellington Heights Wolverines of Mount Forest while the Bears secured a runner-up finish by defeating the Guelph CVI Green Gaels 36-5, keeping the Gaels out of the playoffs in the process. Bishop Mac clinched a playoff berth and moved to third with a 48-5 victory over the Centennial Spartans and Erin was idle.
Bishop Mac’s clinching of a playoff berth came a few days later than expected as they bounced back from last week’s loss to the Centre Wellington Falcons with the win over Centennial.
“We’re pretty proud of coming back because we were in a little bit of a losing streak there,” Celtics’ co-captain Christina Nadalin said. She had three tries and four converts in the game. Other scoring details were not available. “We toughened up and we fought hard today, I believe. I don’t think you’ll see any more tough losses like the CW one or Orangeville one.”
Bishop Mac had lost 14-5 to Orangeville at Orangeville April 24 and 17-10 to Centre Wellington at home last Wednesday.
“We’ve got to start working more on our rucks,” Nadalin said. “We’ve got to be tough and courageous. There are some big girls and we’re a small team so we’ve really got to be brave and make our hits.”
The Celtics might be small, but they’re quick and they try to use that to their advantage.
“Our game plan is always speed – getting it our wide and getting it away from all the big players,” Nadalin said.
The Celtics had former coach Tim Costello back on the bench, although the change in coaches had nothing to do with last week’s loss. Sarah Campbell had been coaching the Celtics, but had to step down after she accepted a job in Windsor.
“I’m very impressed with the state of things,” Costello said. “This team is in good shape. She’s done an awesome job. I’m very happy with what I’ve seen here today and I haven’t really seen them this year. We haven’t had a chance to practice. This is the first day I’ve seen them out there.”
That means Costello will get one practice session with the Celtics before they play their league semifinal at Orangeville Wednesday. Ross is to host Erin in the other semifinal Thursday.
“We’ve got one practice to get things ready,” Costello said. “There’s a few things we saw we want to work on – get a little lower, get a little tougher and get a little more committed in the rucks.”
With a berth in the CWOSSA A/AA tournament locked up, the Celtics could let up at Orangeville Wednesday, but they say that won’t be the case. They lost to Ross in the final last year and would like another shot at becoming the first AA school to win the league title that Ross has won 11 times, Centre Wellington six times, Centennial five times and Orangeville once.
“I like getting to the D10 final. I like when these girls get there. I want to get there,” Costello said. “I would never disrespect an opponent looking beyond them, no matter what the case.
“We’ll give it a go, if we get there. I think we owe that to (the championship opponent) to be prepared for CWOSSA themselves. We can’t give them half a game. We never will.”
“D10 has never really been our priority, but we still like to give them a challenge to show them that we’re not just a AA school, we’re out to play,” Nadalin said.
The school ratings are based on enrollment with AA schools having 501 to 950 students and AAA having more than 950. In D10, Bishop Mac is the smallest school population wise with around 750 students while Ross is the largest around 1,900. Obviously, the team at Ross has the potential to attract more players than the team at Bishop Mac.
“They have more people right from Grade 9 all the way to Grade 12,” Nadalin said. “Lucky for us, we get our Grade 9s on the field so they get a lot more training by the time they’re in Grade 12. I think that’s where our advantage comes in.”
The Celtics also know that tough opponents from Owen Sound await at the CWOSSA tournament to be held there May 17 to 19. St. Mary’s Mustangs of Owen Sound won the title last year.
Ross 67 Wellington Heights 7
Ross had secured a first-place finish last week. Scoring details were not reported.
Orangeville 36 Guelph CVI 5
Orangeville clinched second with the win and kept GCVI out of the playoffs. The Gaels finished fifth.
Jess Gribbon had two tries for Orangeville while Syd Trewartha kicked three conversions and Marjka Luce, Leah Visser, Miranda Scianitti and Eryn Bonney-Brookman each had one try.
Sarah Demary had a try for GCVI.
Centre Wellington 63 Westside 0
Centre Wellington made it three wins in a row to complete their season.
Scoring details were not reported.
Guelph CVI 37 Centre Dufferin 7
Ander Larrauri led GCVI with three tries and a convert while Sam Phippen, Will Ireland, Troy Ellis and Cam Saunders each had one try.
Nathan Gray had the try for Centre Dufferin while Brendan Matthews added the convert.
GCVI had finished the regular season in fourth place and Centre Dufferin fifth as all five teams in the league qualified for the playoffs.
Centre Wellington is to host Erin in one semifinal Wednesday while the Gaels are to play at Ross in the other one Thursday.