They’re number one!
The G.P. Vanier Towhees captured their first ever AAA girls high school provincial 15s rugby tournament Saturday afternoon in Port Alberni, defeating Elgin Park Orcas 15-10.
Seeded #1 going into the eight-team AAA tourney, the Towhees opened with a 34-10 win over Clayton Heights on Thursday, then edged Gleneagle 18-15 in Friday’s semifinals in a thriller. The Towhees scored in extra time to force overtime then kicked the winning penalty at the end of OT.
The Courtenay squad carried that momentum into Saturday’s final, where they opened a 10-0 first-half lead on trys by hooker Taya Gagnon and outside centre Danelle Campbell. Winger Kristine Osachuk’s try gave Vanier a 15-0 lead in the second half.
Campbell was Vanier’s President’s XV selection, while Madi Gold was named B.C. Rugby News final game MVP for coach Dwayne Mills’ talented squad, who defeated the Cowichan Thunderbirds to win the Vancouver Island championship.
“We’ve been beating on the door to get there,” said Mills of the B.C. title, noting the Towhees were third last year, second the year before and third the year before that. He also pointed out this was the first team sport provincial banner for Vanier. “It’s pretty special that way,” he said.
Mills said the key to success was the team’s depth. “We have a lot of skill and talent right across the board. We have a few girls that are a little bit more of an elite level, but we have no real holes. Every position has someone of ability and skill. I’ve never had that before,” the coach added.
As well, Mills said a few girls really elevated their play for the provincials. “Adel Arndt was an unsung hero for us. She’s been learning and learning the game, and all of a sudden at provincials she elevated to a whole new level.”
Overcoming adversity both on and off the field stood the B.C. champions in good stead, Mills said, noting three players were injured in the Towhees’ first game. “They all played through it. We had a bunch of injuries. We used a lot of ice, a lot of tape and a lot of Ibuprofen.”
Mills said things look good for his squad moving forward. “One of the big things is we’re still a young team. We’re only losing two starters, so the majority of the core will be back. It’s looking hopeful for the future.”
LINE OUTS Yale defeated Gleneagle 28-5 in the Cup Consolation, Clayton Heights knocked off Carson Graham 20-5 in the game for 5/6 and Cowichan beat Norkam 318-10 in the game for 7/8 … Abbotsford Secondary won the AA title and Semiahmoo took Tier Two honours …