The UBC Okanagan women’s rugby team will play for the BC club rugby tier 2 championship after dominating a semi-final game on the frozen tundra of the Mission Sports Fields in Kelowna on Sunday, dismissing the Brit Lions rugby club 43-0.
With temperatures hovering around the freezing mark the ground echoed and the tackles landed hard, but the Heat displayed incredible athleticism and power in their shutout.
The 43-0 win is the team’s third straight shutout after finishing the regular season with back-to-back zeroes, including dropping the Brit squad 68-0 last week in Delta. Two weeks ago they shut down Ridge Meadows 67-0 in Kelowna.
Women’s rugby at UBC Okanagan has been around for three years, but this year is the first where the team is entirely made up of full-time university students, and the inaugural season has been a huge success.
“To put our accomplishment this year in context, doing this well in the first year of operation is pretty amazing,” said Okanagan coach Rob O’Brien. “Last year our women did compete in the same division but did it in partnership with the local community who supplied many experienced quality players. We essentially started with a sub-set of the team we had last year and built them into a much more competitive squad.”
Heat captain Krystle Carpenter had three tries in the game.
“Krystle is a force on the field,” O’Brien said. “She is both a constant offensive threat as well as a punishing defender. However, her importance to the team goes far beyond this. Her teammates would literally go to war for her, because they know she would do the same for them.”
Now the Heat will play in the final next weekend against Abbotsford in the Lower Mainland. Abbotsford is the only team to have bested the Heat this season, the 34-12 loss occurring on November 2nd at the CFV Exhibition Park.
“We played Abbotsford during a torrential downpour on a very cold day,” O’Brien recalled. “The game was very close at the half, 17-12, and we pressed them into the second half. However, the conditions made passing the ball handling very difficult. We match up reasonably well against Abbotsford. However, I honestly feel we have much more talent in our back three. These assets were neutralized by the weather.”
The location and time for the Final of the Tier 2 playoffs is still to be determined.
The Heat women’s rugby roster is: Aliyah Rodominski, Angie Williams, Aniko Hawthorn, Chloe Worrall, Christine Dixon, Danielle Fearns, Elora Bascello, Emily O’Connor, Emma Graham, Eunice Punzalan, Hayley Fiebelkorn, Jacqueline Dubreuil, Jasmine Doll, Jessica Sulz, Jordan Pittman, Kelsey Wuerstl, Kristin Vidi, Krystle Carpenter, Lauren Klassen, Maddie Thomsen, Madison Tardif, Marie Martens, Monique Beaulieu, Peng Wen Kuo, Queency Chu, Tachona Jones, Terra Robertson. Coached by Rob O’Brien and Rachel King is the manager.