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Flyers earn trip to provincials

ANDREW WALMSLEY, GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR

grace boutland

Grace Boutland of the Flyers battles a Chinook Coyote for possession of the ball.

sofia hoff

Sofia Hoff of the Flyers passes the ball as she is tackled by a Chinook Coyote.

On Wednesday evening the F.P. Walshe Flyers hosted Chinook Coyotes in the Tier 2 high school girls rugby zone semifinal.
The game took on added importance as both teams knew the winner would book a trip to provincials next Friday and Saturday, June 8-9, in Calgary.
The winner would also take on Winston Churchill on Monday in the zone final game in Lethbridge.
The Flyers started the game playing some great pressure defence and had Chinook on their back foot early.
They squandered a couple of early chances but were definitely controlling the pace of the game.
At the 10-minute mark the Flyers finally took advantage of their pressure. Tiegan Trotter ran a great line and broke through the Chinook defence, dotting the ball down after an electrifying 35-meter run.
Alysia Medema slotted the conversion and the Flyers led 7-0.
The Flyers caught the ensuing kickoff cleanly, and Savannah Norton set up a clean, quick ruck. Grace Boutland moved the ball quickly to the ever dangerous Bradi Feller.
Feller sold a dummy, stepped inside the encroaching Coyotes defence and scampered 80-meters to add another five points to the Flyers total.
Medema proved she was going to have a strong kicking game as she split the uprights with an impressive conversion.
At the 20-minute mark of the half F.P. Walshe had once again maneuvered the ball deep in the Coyotes end.
Chinook was penalized for being offside. The Flyers took advantage by giving the ball to Tess Luther who barrelled over the goal line and touched down for another try.
That concluded the scoring in the first half, with the Flyers holding a 19-0 lead.
The second half started with Chinook taking advantage of a Flyers defensive miscue. Maddie Mazutinec was able to run through a huge gap and run 50 meters to close the score to 19-7, only two minutes into the half.
At this point Bradi Feller took charge of the game. Four minutes later she went on a scintillating 50-meter run, stepping numerous Chinook players to score under the posts.
Two minutes later Feller was at it again, as Asia Hegedus cleanly caught the kickoff and charged 30 meters down the field. She offloaded to Feller who finished the move off with another exciting run to a try. Both tries were converted by the sure-footed Medema.
Six minutes later, at the halfway point of the second half, Sofia Hoff converted a heads-up penalty tap to score the Flyers sixth try of the game.
Once again Medema calmly slotted the conversion to bring her impressive conversion total to five for the game.
After this both teams substituted freely. Chinook was able to add a consolation try to round out the scoring at 40-12 for the Flyers.
Zone championship
The Flyers travelled to Lethbridge on Monday to take on Winston Churchill Griffins in the zone championship.
In a tightly contested, defensive battle the Flyers prevailed by a close 12-10 score.
It was a game of two halves, with the Flyers dominating play in the first half, and Churchill being the aggressors in the second half.
The game started with Walshe dominating possession and territory. At the eight-minute mark it paid off as Sofia Hoff tapped a quick penalty and touched down to make the score 5-0. Alysia Medema’s convert hit the upright and narrowly bounced out keeping the score the same.
The Flyers pressed most of the rest of the half but were unable to score until the final minute. The back line deftly moved the ball out to the wing where Medema was able to outpace the covering Churchill defence to the try line. This time she made no mistake on the convert and the Flyers led 12-0 at half time.
Churchill came out with a different game plan in the second half. They kept the ball tight and pounded the Flyers defensive line with their bigger forwards. It was ugly but effective rugby and six minutes in they scored their first try to close the gap to 12-5.
Churchill kept pounding and with 25 minutes gone in the second half they executed a No. 8 pick to score their second try of the game. The convert was a difficult one from out wide, though, and they were unable to complete it. The score was 12-10 with five minutes to play.
There were some tense moments in the final few minutes but Churchill never really threatened again and the Flyers held on to win their first zone championship since 2014.
The win means the Flyers earn a high seed in the provincial championships on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 at Calgary.
After the medal ceremony league all-stars were awarded to Grade 12s Sofia Hoff and Shelby Heninger, and to Grade 11s Bradi Feller, Tiegan Trotter and Haley Cervo.
Sofia Hoff was awarded the trophy as league MVP for the division.

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