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(Photo credit: Mark Smerdon)
(Photo credit: Mark Smerdon)


After a slow start for the Ontario Junior Storm on the first day of competition at the Las Vegas Invitational Sevens tournament, the young women bounced back with a strong finale to head into Day Two with momentum.

The young ladies from Ontario started the tournament with back-to-back defeats to Atlantis and British Columbia, but composed themselves for the last match of the day, taking down Swarm to end the day with a resounding victory and their confidence restored.

Atlantis 29 v. 7 Ontario Jr. Storm

It was a tough first match for the Junior Storm, falling victim to the incredible speed and defensive know-how of Atlantis, a team composed of outstanding athletes from the eastern United States.

The American side struck early, building a 19-0 lead by the halftime whistle, buoyed by their ability to stretch the ball across the width of the field, which served to sever Ontario’s defensive lines.

Atlantis used their fleet feet to take their lead to 29-0, though they would not complete the shut out, as Junior Storm youngster Quin Matheson blew past the American side late in the second half to score Ontario’s first try of the tournament. The try was converted by Angela Godfrey, ending the match with a 29-7 scoreline.

British Columbia 29 v. 0 Ontario Jr. Storm

In the battle of two rival provinces featuring two up-and-coming junior women’s sevens programs, British Columbia emerged as the victor, as their superior defensive form shut down Ontario’s attack consistently throughout the game.

British Columbia set an early tone to the match, scoring a try under the posts just moments after kickoff. After taking their lead to 17-0 at halftime, an improved Ontario defence could not contain British Columbia, as the west coast team would add two more tries to their tally, defeating Ontario by a score of 29-0.

Ontario Jr. Storm 39 v. 0 Swarm

Determined to earn their first win of the tournament, the Junior Storm saved their best performance for last on Day One of the Las Vegas Invitational Sevens.

Going up against Swarm, a team based out of Colorado, Ontario wasted no time getting on the scoresheet, as Julia Schell scored a full-field try just minutes into the match. The early try helped calm Ontario’s nerves, as free-flowing team play resulted in additional tries scored by Kara Gani, Marta Walfisz and Megan Pakulis in the first half.

Leading 20-0 entering the second half, Julia Schell put in a Man of the Match performance throughout the remainder of the game, scoring three more tries and making two conversions to guide Ontario to a 39-0 victory over their American opposition.

“After two matches against two outstanding rugby teams earlier in the day, our girls showed tremendous character in their third match of the day,” said Junior Storm head coach Brooke Hilditch. “The girls didn’t back down or lose their confidence, and showed great maturity by putting in a fantastic team performance to get a momentum-building win.”

“Heading into tomorrow’s Bowl competition, the girls will look to build on their performance against Swarm, and to learn from their matches against Atlantis and British Columbia,” she added. “We’ll be looking to increase our ball possession and to shore up defensively, and the girls will be giving it their all.”

With the victory, the Junior Storm secured third place in their pool, and will play for the Bowl on Day Two of the tournament.

The matches at the Las Vegas Invitational Sevens will not be live-streamed online, though the @RugbyOntario Twitter account will be live-tweeting every Ontario Junior Blues and Junior Storm match. You can follow the action here:

For more information regarding the Las Vegas Invitational Sevens, please visit:

Ontario U18 Jr. Storm 7s Pool Schedule for Las Vegas Invitational Sevens:

8:00am PST / 11:00am EST: Atlantis 29 v. 7 Ontario Jr. Storm (Jan. 23)
11:00am PST / 2:00pm EST: British Columbia 29 v. 0 Ontario Jr. Storm (Jan. 23)
1:40pm PST / 4:40pm EST: Ontario Jr. Storm 39 v. 0 Swarm (Jan. 23)

9:00am PST / 12:00pm EST Bowl Quarterfinal: Ontario Jr. Storm v. 4th Pool A (Jan. 24)

The Junior Storm’s second match of the day will occur at either 11:00am PST / 2:00pm EST or 11:40am PST / 2:40pm EST, depending on the result of their first match on Jan. 24. If the Junior Storm win their second match of the day, their third match of the day will occur at either 1:20pm PST / 4:20pm EST or 1:40pm PST / 4:40pm EST.


Ontario U18 Jr. Storm 7s Squad for New York Sevens:

Kara Gani (Balmy Beach)
Angela Godfrey (Cobourg Saxons)
Sienna Gulino (Yeomen Lions)
Julia Hockin (Brantford Harlequins)
Mikhaila Irving (Markham Irish)
Charlotte Kates (Niagara Wasps)
Quin Matheson (Yeomen Lions)
Pippi Mckay (Balmy Beach)
Eleta Mitton (Norfolk County RFC)
Megan Pakulis (Toronto Saracens)
Julia Schell (Oshawa Vikings)
Marta Walfisz (Oshawa Vikings)

Team Staff

Head Coach – Brooke Hilditch
Manager – Lisa Newton
Athletic Therapist – Karen Chrobak

About Rugby Ontario:

Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to promote, govern, and develop rugby at all levels in a safe, affordable and enjoyable environment within the province of Ontario.

For more information, visit

About Rugby Ontario’s Junior Provincial Sevens Program:

The Rugby Ontario junior provincial sevens program is designed to help develop the skills of young rugby players in the province of Ontario, with of goal of setting these athletes on the pathway to identification for Canadian national team representation.


For more information, please contact:

Brock Smith
Communications Coordinator
Rugby Ontario
Office: 416 426-7049 

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