Last weekend, the women’s rugby team continued their undefeated season and brought home their fourth consecutive Canada West (CW) championship. The 'Birds defeated the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns 52–5 in the semi-finals and the University of Victoria Vikes 10–0 in the final. .
The tournament started on Thursday with the semi-final game where the 'Birds faced the Pronghorns in the first step to defending their title. The Thunderbirds took a 5–0 lead right against the Pronghorns soon after kickoff. First-year back Adia Pye got her first try in the third minute of the game on a breakaway.
In retaliation, the Pronghorns pushed back with a great scrum to pressure the Thunderbirds, but failed to strike back before fly half Savannah Bauder kicked the ball down the pitch. Bauder then later scored a try and conversion before the 18th minute, bringing the score to 12—0.
After back-and-forth struggles between the Thunderbirds and Pronghorns, rookie forward Kiki Idowu broke through and scored the third T-Birds' try. Another successful conversion increased the score to 19–0. Idowu’s try unleashed a scoring frenzy for the Thunderbirds, with Bauder and Pye scoring a total of three more tries to into the half 38–0.
In the second half, third-year lock Sadie Gluvic scored the Thunderbird’s seventh try of the game, before Bauder converted her kick to make the score 45–0.
Bauder then scored her third and the Thunderbird’s eighth try of the game, and nailed her fifth conversion, bringing the score to 52–0.
The Pronghorns had good chances in the second half, but the T-Birds proved they were the better team. The only Lethbridge try would come at the 66th minute mark. The 52—5 dominant win put the T-Birds through to the final.
On Sunday, under the pouring rain, the Thunderbirds battled the University of Victoria Vikes in the championship final for the fourth year in a row.
Within the first ten minutes, it was clear it would be a close match between the 'Birds and the Vikes. Every time, the other team near their opponent's try line, the defence stood strong. The game remained scoreless for the first half, representing the tight competition between the championship’s finalists.
Around midway during the second half, Bauder scored a penalty kick for the first points of the game, putting the ‘Birds up 3–0.
With the game starting to pick up, Bauder put more points on the board for the 'Birds, after a strong UBC scrum on the 5 yard line drove the ball into the try zone. The ball popped backwards, and she picked it up and touched it down to earn the first try of the game. Her successful kick changed the tally to 10–0.
Throughout the match, especially in the final minutes, the Thunderbirds and Vikes kicked the ball back-and-forth across the pitch several times in attempts to score but to no avail.
In the end, the Thunderbirds were crowned the champions, claiming their fourth consecutive CW championship title. They now advance to the U Sports National tournament, taking place in Quebec City from November 1–5, where they will hunt for their first program national title.
— with files from Lauren Kasowski