OAKVILLE, Ont – The Humber women's rugby sevens team won its second provincial title Saturday afternoon, beating undefeated Algonquin in the OCAA Championship Game, 14-5.
Matched against the top defence in the province, Humber dominated possession in the opening half, rarely allowing the Thunder to cross midfield.
With time running out in the opening frame, Cheyenne De Luca drove deep into the Algonquin zone before getting tackled shy of the goal line. Chippawa native Hayley O'Donoghue made a nice swing pass to a streaking Renee Bowen, scoring Humber's first try of the match. Tatiana Fitzgerald kicked the convert, giving Humber the 7-0 lead at the break.
Trailing for the first time all season, Algonquin responded after the break with a quick try from Deleisha Dixon.
With less than three minutes remaining and trailing by two, Algonquin found a seam in Humber's defence, breaking free for what seemed to be an easy try. With Humber's championship hopes on the line, Hayley O'Donoghue made an incredible game-saving tackle, preventing the Thunder from scoring.
As time ran down, the Hawks scored a brilliant try from the line-out, when Fitzgerald found a streaking De Luca who ran over 60 metres untouched for her second try of the tournament. Fitzgerald kicked her second convert of the match, securing the win for Humber, 14-5.
Hayley O'Donoghue was named the player of the match as the Hawks captured their second title in three years.
"We all felt confident coming into this tournament," said head coach Dale Essue, who improved to 5-1 all-time in postseason play. "We learned from our loss to Algonquin earlier during the year and everyone went out today and played hard and executed. I couldn't be prouder of this team."
For Branch, it was her third straight season being named a tournament all-star, while Cheyenne De Luca joins Charli Mocon as the only Humber players to be named championship MVPs.