Cascades women’s rugby sevens side sixth at final Canada West tourney

Meghan Wellis of the Cascades runs through a UVic tackle. (APShutter.com/UVic Vikes photos)

The University of the Fraser Valley Cascades concluded the Canada West Women’s Rugby Sevens Series with a sixth-place finish at a weekend tournament hosted by the University of Victoria.

On Saturday, the Cascades fell 24-0 to the Calgary Dinos, 19-7 to the Lethbridge Pronghorns, and 33-0 to the UBC Thunderbirds. Sunday’s action saw the UFV side lose 29-5 to the Alberta Pandas, 61-0 to the Victoria Vikes, and 41-0 to Lethbridge in the fifth/sixth placing game.

The Calgary Dinos won the tourney, defeating Alberta 26-5 in the final, and they also claimed the banner as the overall series champions.

Head coach Jen Ross called it an “extremely tough” weekend for her first-year program, which unlike the other five teams in the field, does have an existing varsity 15s team to draw players from. The 10-player UFV side was down to eight after the first day of the tourney due to injury, and the lack of depth made it an uphill climb on Day 2.

Try scorers for the Cascades on the weekend were Mackenzie Fowler (who added a convert vs. Lethbridge) and Meghan Wellis.

“I think we played just as well this weekend as we did in our first one, but I think our sights were set a bit higher,” said Ross, alluding to UFV’s sixth-place result at the first Canada West Sevens Series event in Edmonton in January. “The girls didn’t feel quite as jubilant this week because they know we’re on the verge of making some breakthroughs and the other teams all take us very seriously.

“We all realized the task at hand was pretty difficult for this tournament,” Ross added. “But we came away with a feeling that the future is super-positive.

“It’s really going to come down to recruitment and development over the off-season now, and getting things ready for next year. The girls themselves have bought in completely to the system, and they love representing UFV. There’s lots of positives, it just comes down to getting rugby players into the school and getting them out for the program.”

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