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X-Women dynasty captures national rugby championship


The St. F.X. X-Women rugby program is in familiar territory.

The Mike Cavanagh-led dynasty secured its sixth national crown, Nov. 4, with a 41-24 victory over the Guelph Gryphons in the U Sports championship game at Acadia University in Wolfville.

This most recent Monilex Trophy finish continued the Xaverian rugby tradition of winning titles in even-numbered years, with the other five Canadian banners coming in 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

After the Gryphons opened the scoring in the first minute, taking a 7-0 edge on a Julia Schell try and Madison Brattan conversion, X-Women tournament all-stars Joanna Alphonso (try) and Danielle Franada (conversion) combined, five minutes later, to knot the contest.

On an Erica Barton try and second conversion from Brattan, the Gryphons led 14-7.

Tournament MVP Olivia DeMerchant, with a try, and a Franada conversion, pulled the X-Women even for the second time.

On a late try from player of the game and tournament all-star Amelia Hatfield, in the 37th minute, the Blue and White were up 19-14 at halftime.

In the opening two minutes of the second half, Sam Lake – who scored the first of three tries – and Franada, with her third conversion, extended the X-Women advantage to 26-14.

Rebecca Sundell of the Gryphons made it 26-19.

Lake and Franada answered, giving the X-Women a 33-19 edge.

Franada, with a penalty kick, made it 36-19.

Brodie Schmidt, in the 71st minute, pulled the Gryphons within 12 points – 36-24.

Lake wrapped up the scoring with a try in the 81st minute.

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The X-Women opened their national title march with a 42-21 quarterfinal win over the Queen’s Gaels, followed by a 26-12 victory over the Laval Rouge et Or in semifinal action.

Before play got underway, Alphonso and DeMerchant received 2nd team All-Canadian recognition.

At the Atlantic University Sport level, the duo was named all-stars, along with Carleigh Walters, Alison Blanchard and Sarah Hoerig.

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