Cameron Doherty, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – The stage was set for fireworks at Wallace Field on October 15 with the two undefeated teams left in the Canada West conference of women's rugby going head-to-head in the regular season finale. The action on the field more than lived up to it's climatic build-up as the visiting Calgary Dinos defeated the host UVic Vikes to capture the regular season crown by a score of 34-22.
"It was a great game from both sides, one of those games where if you make a mistake the other team really capitalizes on it and unfortunately we made some mistakes today," said Vikes head coach Brittany Waters. "We were trying some things that we got away with in other games that are not going to work against a team like Calgary."
Momentum shifted back and forth throughout the game as the two teams that have dominated the conference in recent years both tried to earn bragging rights ahead of the Canada West Playoff Tournament taking place from Oct. 20-22 in Calgary.
"That was a fun game to watch," said Dinos head coach Simon Chi. "UVic is an excellent team and we knew we had to be at the top of our game to win and it worked out in our favour today. We know that we could be playing them again in a week (in the Canada West Championship game) and it could be a completely different scenario."
Temitope Ogunjimi scored two tries for the victorious Dinos, while Kaselle Menin, DaLeaka Menin and Emily Tuttosi each added a try apiece. Isla Shill was good on two converts on the day.
"Those are the players that make you look like a good coach," said Chi of Ogunjimi and the two Menin's. "You really don't have to do much, they just make good plays and that leads to results. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have those players and they are very good team players as well."
Jess Neilson led the way for the Vikes; scoring a try, a penalty goal and adding two converts. Julia Folk and Chanelle Edwards-Challenger each added a try for the host team.
It was the Dinos who struck first when just two minutes after the opening whistle Ogunjimi burst down the sideline to open the scoring.
Folk responded for the Vikes just seven minutes later when she was able to dive over the try line after some sustained pressure.
A penalty goal from Neilson in the 16th minute gave the Vikes the lead after Edwards-Challenger forced the Dinos into committing the infraction. That lead would be short-lived however as a try from Kaselle Menin and another from Ogunjimi allowed the Dinos to head into the halftime break up 17-10.
After DaLeaka Menin scored just seven minutes into the second half to give them a 24-10 lead it looked like the Dinos might start running away with the game, but the Vikes were able to find a response.
A great individual effort try from Neilson combined with a try from Edwards-Challenger got the Vikes back to within just two points.
The comeback wasn't meant to be however.
With the Vikes pushing for the win, Calgary was able to take advantage and score two late tries.
Both of these teams will be back in action next week for the Canada West Playoff Tournament. Calgary has earned the top seed and will play the fourth-seeeded UBC T-Birds while the Vikes will take on the Lethbridge Pronghorns.
"We are looking forward to the Canada West Championship now, we will use this game to see where we can improve and come out ready to go on Friday," said Waters.
The game was also the annual Jenny Vincent Memorial Game, played in honour of the late Jenny Vincent who was a pioneer of women's rugby and played an integral part in building both the Vikes and Dinos programs.
After the game, Vincent's son Tyler Nield presented the Dinos with the Jenny Vincent Memorial Plaque, awarded annually to the winner of the game.
1st 2nd Final
UVIC: 10 17 22
CGY: 17 10 34
2' CGY TRY – #8 Temitope Ogunjimi (convert missed) – 5-0 Calgary
9' UVIC TRY – #7 Julia Folk (#10 Jess Neilson convert) – 7-5 UVic
16' UVIC PENALTY GOAL – #10 Jess Neilson – 10-5 UVic
25' CGY TRY – #5 Kaselle Menin (convert missed) 10-10 Tie
33' CGY TRY – #8 Temitope Ogunjimi (#10 Isla Shill convert) 17-10 Calgary
47' CGY TRY – #3 DaLeaka Menin (#10 Isla Shill convert) 24-10 Calgary
53' UVIC TRY – #10 Jess Neilson (convert missed) 24-15 Calgary
64' UVIC TRY – #8 Chanelle Edwards-Challenger (#10 Jess Neilson convert) 24-22 Calgary
76' CGY TRY – #15 Elysa Sandron (convert missed) 29-22 Calgary
80' CGY TRY – #2 Emily Tuttosi (convert missed) 34-22 Calgary