The Belmont Bulldogs girls’ sevens team are Island champs.
The team has already make big improvements from last season. Last year they placed third at Islands and second at provincials, to Oak Bay, who scored a try to put the Bays ahead in the last minute of the game.
Charlotte Haley, head coach of the Bulldogs, has been at the helm for three years and has coached some of the girls on the team since they were in Grade 9. She said there is more depth on the team since she started coaching as the girls have more experience under their belts.
This year’s squad lost only two players to graduation and Haley said they have carried forward a strong nucleus of players. She said the girls are better skilled, more knowledgeable and are “amazing defensively.” Haley said the girls aren’t as tall as other teams, but are quick and physically strong, and are not intimidated to tackle anybody.
The Bulldogs only gave up 31 points over six games at the Island Championships last weekend. In pool play they won all three games beating Shawnigan Lake, a traditionally strong rugby school, 34-12, Brentwood College 46-0, and Mark R. Isfeld 34-7.
In the quarterfinals they routed Isfeld 44-0 and beat Cowichan 27-7 in the semi-finals to make it to the championships. Belmont faced Shawnigan Lake in the championships, and Haley said it was a great game. The Bulldogs won Island championships 22-5 against the Colts.
Haley said she is most impressed with the girls’ commitment to work hard for one another and how well they play as a team. “They really stay strong with one another,” she said.
Over the course of the tournament Carmen Izyk scored around 10 trys, possibly more, Haley said. Izyk plays on the wing and if her teammates play well around her she can use her pace and agility to break through, she said, a testament to the way the girls work together.
During the Island tournament, two of the Bulldogs’ premiere players got injured, but the rest of the team kept the momentum, Haley said.
The Bulldogs have been training three times a week since after spring break and some of the team trains with the Rugby Canada development academy.
Haley also has eight players that played on the B.C. team last year who went to nationals in Calgary.
The Bulldogs head to provincials this Friday and Saturday at Brentwood College and if they reach the finals, they will play their championship match at Westhills Stadium in between the women’s sevens tournament.