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Three times a charm for Queen’s men’s rugby team

[Queen's Men's Rugby]
The Queen's Gaels men's rugby team celebrates after winning their third consecutive OUA championship on Saturday at Nixon Field. (Photo by Ian MacAlpine)

The Queen’s Gaels claimed their third OUA Championship title in a row on Saturday with a 32-23 victory over the Guelph Gryphons at Nixon Field, battling back after trailing early.

The Gaels fell behind 16-0 after 30 minutes as the Gryphons came roaring out in the first half on the strength of a pair of tries and two penalty kicks.

But the Gaels would find their footing and pushed into the Gryphons territory with Lucas Rumball diving across the line to put down the first try for Queen’s with Adam McQueen adding the conversion. In the dying minutes of the half Tommy Kirkham then broke through the Guelph defense to put down another try closing the gap to 16-12 at halftime.\

"It was just unbelievable the strength our guys have. They just dug in deep and even though we got behind no one panicked and they just put it together again and finished 80 minutes strong," said head coach Gary Gilks. "We spoke about that (veteran leadership) in the locker room about an hour before the game and that when we are under pressure it's the vets that need to stand up and take charge and they all did. Every single one of them stepped up and really led the way, I'm quite proud as they helped out the rookies and less experienced players.”

The second half followed a different storyline.

The Gaels burst into the Gryphons zone by blocking a kick and James Dent diving on the ball to put down the try and grab the Gaels their first lead of the match. Jeffrey MacDonald then followed with another try with a conversion by McQueen. Not letting up, the Gaels returned to the Gryphons end with Kirkham putting down his second try of the game, giving the Gaels an incredible 29 unanswered points.

Guelph responded with their first try of the second half but the Gaels would maintain control and were awarded a late penalty kick, converted by McQueen, to solidify their lead.

Kirkham was named man of the match for the Gaels after putting down two tries in the victory. Queen's has now won 16 straight OUA regular season/playoff home games at Nixon Field.

With the win Queen's has 21 OUA titles, tying them with Toronto for the most overall.

Cross Country

The Gaels women's cross country team finished in third place for the second year in a row at the CIS championship on the strength of Julie-Anne Staehli’s silver medal and a sixth-place finish by Claire Sumner in St. John's, Nfld.

In the men’s event, Alex Wilkie finished 10th, leading the men to an 10th-place team finish.

After finishing as the top female runner and CIS MVP in 2013, Staehli looked to repeat the feat this year coming off an OUA bronze medal just two weeks ago. In the end it was Carise Thompson from Guelph who edged out Staehli. Thompson finished in a time of 22:42.2 while Staehli followed up eight seconds after coming in at a time of 22:50.3 for the CIS silver medal. Teammate Sumner finished sixth, earning a spot on the first All-Canadian team with her finish in a time of 23:01.5.

Rounding out the Gaels runners were Liane Girard (39th), Charlotte Dunlap (48th) and Shannen Murray (49th), giving the Queen's team 132 points for an overall bronze medal.

The men were led by Wilkie who landed himself on the All-Canadian second team with his 10th-place performance in a time of 34:29.4. Rounding out the Gaels top five were Eric Wynands (29th), Brandon Thomas (54th), Mark Schmidt (70th) and Eric MacPherson (81st) giving the team a score of 229 for 10th place.

Men’s Hockey

The men's hockey team romped to a 14-4 win over RMC at the Memorial Centre on Saturday. The 14 goals is the most in a single game for Queen's since 1985.

Queen's dominated play from the drop of the puck, tallying six goals in the first frame and stretched the lead to 10-0 before RMC finally got on the scoresheet with back-to-back powerplay goals late in the second period.

Queen's added four more goals in the third, with Blair Wentworth completing a hat-trick, his first three goals of the season. The Gaels last scored more than 14 goals back on Jan. 27, 1985 when they beat Ryerson 16-0.

On Friday, the Gaels fell 1-0 to the Carleton Ravens in Ottawa. Goalie Kevin Bailie made 32 saves in the loss.

The Gaels (5-4-0) return to action Friday night when they travel to Toronto to take on the Ryerson Rams (6-3-1).

Women’s Hockey

Captain Shawna Griffin scored the winner as No. 4 Queen’s Gaels women's hockey team defeated the Brock Badgers 4-3 on the road Sunday, snapping a three-game losing streak.

Fiona Lester, Addi Halladay and Amber Sealey also scored for the Gaels while rookie goaltender Claire Warren made 30 saves in her first appearance at the CIS level to earn her first career win

On Saturday, the Gaels fell to a 1-0 road loss against the No. 8 Guelph Gryphons. The home side outshot the Gaels 25-16 with Caitlyn Lahonen getting the start in net.

The Gaels (6-1-2) return to action Saturday night when they travel to Oshawa to take on the UOIT Ridgebacks (5-3-1)

Men’s Volleyball

On Saturday the Queen’s Gaels men’s volleyball squad (2-3) earned a road win, beating the Waterloo Warriors (3-4) in a three-set sweep, 25-15, 25-20, and 25-15.

Queen's came out flying against the Warriors, beating them in a quick first set, 25-15. Waterloo stepped up their defence in the second set, but the Gaels managed to pull away late to take it 25-20. The Gaels took it in the final set 25-15, redeeming themselves from a pair of preseason losses against Waterloo.

Philippe Goyer and Mike Tomlinson led the attack for the Gaels. Goyer had a game-high 17 kills, while Tomlinson had 11 kills and two serving aces.

Queen's hosts the Guelph Gryphons Saturday at 3pm in the ARC.

Women’s Volleyball

The Queen’s Gaels women’s volleyball team (3-3) suffered their first home loss of the season on Sunday to the Ottawa Gee-Gees (3-2) in straight sets, 25-17, 25-19, 25-21.

After dropping the first set, the Gaels improved their play as the match progressed. In the third set, Queen's erased a five-point deficit to tie it up at 21-21 on strong serving from Caroline Livingston. The Gee-Gees recovered to close out the match with a 25-21 score in the third set.

Shannon Neville recorded a team-high 10 kills for Queen's, while Becky Wilson was the Gaels dig leader with 12.

On Friday night the Gaels topped the RMC Paladins (0-6) in straight sets, 25-8, 25-18, 25-15.Shannon Hopkins finished with seven serving aces, 15 kills and 12 digs for the Gaels.

The Gaels hit the road to face Waterloo on Friday, before returning home for a pair of 6pm games against Lakehead and Brock Nov. 21-22.

Women’s Basketball

The No. 8 Queen’s Gaels women’s basketball team lost 82-76 against the Lakehead Thunderwolves on Friday in their OUA season opener in Thunder Bay.

Jylisa Williams had an incredible performance for the Thunderwolves leading all scorers with an outstanding 42 points. Emily Hazlett and Liz Boag led the Gaels, each shooting 19 points and Hazlett grabbing six steals.

The Gaels return to action Nov. 14 when they take on the Waterloo Warriors at 6pm at the ARC.  

Men’s Basketball

The Queen’s Gaels men’s basketball team lost their OUA season opener 54-51 against the Lakehead Thunderwolves on Friday in Thunder Bay.

The Gaels saw strong performances from Greg Faulkner who scored a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds as well as from Mike Shoveller, who put up 12 points.

The Gaels play Nov. 14 for their home opener against the Waterloo Warriors. Tipoff is scheduled for 8pm at the ARC.