Two local girls rugby teams booked high seeds in the upcoming provincial championships with victories in the Fraser Valley championships on Thursday.
The Yale Lions claimed their second consecutive senior AAA valley crown with a 33-7 victory over White Rock’s Semiahmoo secondary school.
Captain Mackenzie Carson and the forward pack of Emily Pollastretti, Chrissa Perez and Sarah Klok led the Lions all season and were instrumental in the win, according to team manager and assistant coach Marisa Meola.
The Lions never trailed in the game, and have yet to lose a league match over the past two seasons. Last season they made it to the provincial semifinal, and eventually finished third in the province.
On Thursday, fullback Chaylyn Rouche made four try-saving tackles to preserve the Lions’ advantage, while Sapna Deo contributed 11 points to the Yale total.
The Panthers will enter the provincial rugby championships as the second seed. Meola sees G.P. Vanier as the team to beat at the tournament.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the Abbotsford Senior Panthers retained their AA Fraser Valley Championship with a 55-10 win over the Robert Bateman Timberwolves.
The game was a rematch of the 2014 valley and provincial finals, with Abbotsford – who have won the B.C. crown for three consecutive years – taking both of those matches as well.
Panthers co-coach Peter Cannon gave credit to Bateman, who had several players recently come back from a rugby trip to Japan just days before having to play the Panthers and Heritage Park.
“Even though the score was 55-10, they never gave up, and even though they were bruised and beat up, they kept going,” he said.
Cheyenne Sharrott, Beth Hand, Tausani Levale, Reena Grewal, Kashish Arya, Paige Pedersen scored tries for Abbotsford with Tausani and Nakisa Levale both scoring conversions.
Both squads will move on to play in the provincial championships which start May 21.
Last week, the Yale Lions claimed both the Tier 1 and Tier 2 junior boys rugby Upper Fraser Valley championships.
Yale’s Tier 1 team beat Mouat 56-12, while the Tier 2 squad – which comprises mainly Grade 9 players – topped Mouat 60-5.
Back Logan Israelson and forward Deji Arojojoye had big games for the Tier 2 Lions.
“We had some real good efforts from the whole team,” coach Clayton Radons said. “It was probably the best game we played as a group.”
As for the Tier 1 squad, Zach Bain was instrumental in the Tier 1 victory, scoring a couple of tries.
The dual victories may be the first time teams from the same school have won both Upper Fraser Valley junior titles.
The Tier 1 junior Lions followed that up with a win against Abbotsford Monday afternoon to advance to the Fraser Valley semifinal.
Yale’s AAA squad is in action Wednesday afternoon in the Fraser Valley Championship against Surrey’s Earl Marriott. Check Friday’s paper for a score.