Wolfville, NS – The StFX X-Women advanced to the U SPORTS semifinal game with a decisive 42-21 victory over the OUA finalist Queen's Gaels Thursday afternoon in the second quarterfinal of the U SPORTS championship, hosted by Acadia University.
The X-Women were led by veteran fifth year prop, All-Canadian Joanna Alphonso (Ajax, ON) who scored three tries in the game. Fly half Danielle Franada (Grand Prairie, AB) scored 12 points as she made good on all six of her conversion attempts in the game.
It was the Gaels who scored first in the game as their backs found a seam and broke through as Amelia Lawton (Caledon, ON) scored 11 minutes in. Nadia Popov kicked the conversion to give them an early 7-0 lead.
After continued forward movement and ball possession from the X-Women, their persistence finally paid off when the ball got out to winger Carleigh Walters (Williams Lake, BC) and she touched down in the 21st minute.
Sarah Hoerig (Whitby, ON) scored five minutes later for the X-Women on a nice streaking break across the try line. Alphonso then pushed across the try line in the 33rd minute for her first try of the game.
Franada made good on all three first half tries as the X-Women held a 21-7 lead at halftime.
X-Women head coach Mike Cavanagh noted, "We started out a little bit slow to start the game, they have some speed and they showed us we can be dangerous if we give them the ball and some time and space. But it was nice that after they scored we came an answered right away and kept the momentum going."
That momentum carried over into the second half for the X-Women as Danielle Cormier (Halifax, NS) touched down in the opening three minutes of the half for X.
U SPORTS player of the year Sophie de Goede (Victoria, BC) found some open space and scored a pair of tries for the Gaels in the second half. The X-Women replied with two tries of their own from Alphonso in tight.
"We stuck to our game plan all game, we played the game a lot in their half and just waited for mistakes so I am very pleased with how the game went," commented Coach Cavanagh.
With the win the X-Women advance to play the RSEQ finalists Laval Rouge et Or on Friday at 4:30 pm. Queen's is relegated to the consolation semifinals versus Calgary on Saturday.
Looking ahead to the challenge against Laval, Cavanagh noted, "Laval beat us last year in the semis and they are a good team. It's a team that won't beat themselves, they have some very fast backs so if we give them space they can punish us. We will have another good look at the game film tonight to finalize our game preparations."
StFX: 21-21: 42
QUE: 7-7: 14
QUE – Amelia Lawton try (Nadia Popov convert) 11th
StFX – Caleigh Walters try 25th (Danielle Franada convert) 21st
StFX - Sarah Hoerig try (Franada convert) 26th
StFX – Joanna Alphonso try (Franada convert) 33rd
StFX – Danielle Cormier try (Franada convert) 38th
QUE – Sophie de Goede try (de Goede convert) 56th
StFX – Alphonso try (Franada convert) 61st
StFX – Alphonso try (Franada convert) 68th
QUE – de Goede try (de Goede convert) 75th
Players of the game
StFX: Joanna Alphonso
QUE: Nadia Popov