Not only did Avon View's team win the NSSAF 2017 Division 1 girls' rugby provincial banner, but it marked the third year in a row that the team secured the title.
“We keep beating these schools that are two to three times our size, like Halifax West and Citadel. I don't know how but we seem to find a way to do it,” said Jim Bryan, the athletics director at Avon View and head coach of the girls' rugby team, following the June 3 win.
“It's great. We're the little school that just keeps doing it. It's pretty special, I love it.”
Having his daughter, Jessie Bryan, playing on the team for those three consecutive years made the victory that much more sweet, Bryan said.
The Avon View Avalanche entered the provincial tournament as underdogs. They lost the regional final to King's-Edgehill School and went as the Western 2 seed. It's not the first time that the team has wound up losing the regional and winning the provincial.
“The regional final — we traditionally haven't done well there,” said Bryan.
“I don't know what it is but we always bring our best in provincials.”
And bring their best is just what they did. On June 2, Avon View took on Halifax West and won 15-0.
“They were a really strong team that just narrowly lost the city final. They had girls on the team that played with Canada,” said Bryan.
“Everyone was really focused and did their job and made sure that they had it under control,” he said of their first win in the provincial tournament.
Their next victory was against the home team, North Nova. Avon View blanked them 30-0.
Their third game was against their Hants County rival, King's-Edgehill.
“King's-Edgehill lost to Citadel so that knocked them into second so in the cross-over, we had to meet them early,” said Bryan, who had been hoping to meet KES in the provincial final instead.
During the rugby season, KES defeated Avon View three times, with AV only winning once. Bryan said the girls knew they had to bring their A-game to the semi-final match up.
“We ended up on top and we beat them 13-3,” said Bryan.
The final came down to two undefeated teams — Avon View and Citadel High.
“They scored first. It was the first time that we were behind — so 7-0,” said Bryan.
“We had a chance to make a penalty kick and take some points to start making a comeback. We got a three point kick so it was 7-3.”
In the second half, Avon View scored a try with no conversion to take a slim 8-7 lead. They managed to keep Citadel at bay and won the final by one point.
“Our two captains — Rebekah O'Reilly and Jessie Bryan — really stepped up and really led the team, not only as captains but on the field as well,” said Bryan.
“Jessie was our leading scorer and Rebekah really solidified the offence.”
Another Grade 12 student, Spencer Kehoe, was described as playing unbelievably hard all weekend.
She “just did all the things that doesn't go on the scoreboard but allows you to get on the scoreboard,” said Bryan.
“Hannah Allen, our full-back, was also instrumental in the win just by being our safety back there, making sure nobody gets through.”
Megan Dorey, who was out with injury for most of the season, was well enough to come back for provincials.
This year, the team will bid farewell to six Grade 12 students. Last year, that number was 12.