Photo by Marc LafleurSEASON SCHEDULE
The Ravens return to the pitch for the first time in nearly two years when they host the Montreal Carabins in their 2021 season opener at the Ravens’ Perch on Saturday, September 11.
The last time the Ravens rugby team made an official competitive appearance came in its 50-24 win over rival Montreal in the RSEQ conference consolation final in October 2019.
2019 regular season record: 0-6 (RSEQ Division A)2019 regular season standings: 4th (RSEQ Division A)2019 playoff record: 2-12019 playoff finish: RSEQ consolation playoff championRecent Success: 2018 RSEQ semi-finalist; 2019 RSEQ consolation playoff champion
Carleton faced stiff competition in its last season, finishing 0-6 against Division A opponents uOttawa, Laval and Sherbrooke. Having played against perennial powerhouses and 2019 U SPORTS national championship medallists uOttawa (bronze) and Laval (gold) twice each during the regular season provided the Ravens’ young squad, which included 15 first-year players, with invaluable first-hand experience against elite opposition.
Despite enduring some difficult losses during the 2019 regular season, the Ravens finished the year on a high with two straight victories – postseason wins over McGill and Montreal — to secure the consolation playoff championship.
Following relegation in the two-tiered RSEQ league system, the Ravens will compete in Division B in 2021, where they will be joined by Bishop’s, McGill and Montreal. Since joining the RSEQ in 2012, the Ravens own a 13-6-1 combined regular season record against this year’s division foes.
Leading this year’s team onto the field will be a quartet of veterans including Anastasia Bourka (5th year, Back), Roberta Drummond (5th year, Scrum Half), Charlotte Elliott (3rd year, Prop) and Lauryn Walker (3rd year, Center). Both Drummond and Elliott were named RSEQ All-Stars in 2018 and will aim to return to all-conference form in 2021.
Perhaps the team’s biggest change heading into the 2021 season will come on the sideline, where long-time assistant coach David Luong steps in as the Ravens’ new head coach. Luong replaces Pat Thompson, who elected to take a coaching role with the uOttawa Gee-Gees in the spring of 2020. While Luong has held the top role for more than a year, he will be making his head coaching debut this upcoming weekend. His significant coaching experience and familiarity with the program will be beneficial to the team as they usher in a new era.
Ravens rugby is not a ticketed event, however, the Ravens’ Perch will have a capacity of 750. Fans must wear masks at all times while in the stands and seating is limited to 6 people in a row same household.
All individuals who are coming on to campus and/or participating in an in-person Carleton activity, must attest to their vaccination status and have received their first dose by September 8, 2021, in cuScreen.
On becoming head coach of Ravens Women’s Rugby…
“We have an established team culture so moving from assistant coach to head coach has been a natural progression. Being able to keep most of our coaching core intact has helped in the transition as well. With a year away from competition, I have had time to make some adjustments as well as take important steps in the role and we are looking forward to competing once again.”
On his team being part of the university’s first competitive varsity game since the 2019-20 season…
“Our players are itching to get back on the field and to compete again. Our first game will be the first Ravens varsity game (of any sport) in a long time, so we’re pretty pumped.”
On keeping the team focused during a year away from competition…
“We kept a gratitude mindset throughout (the pandemic) and have looked at some of the positives that we’ve had more time to work on our core skills that we may not typically have had as much time for during a normal regular season. We were also able to work on team culture and build upon our team values. Playing this sport is a privilege.”
Anastasia BourkaRoberta DrummondCharlotte ElliottLauryn Walker
Claire FileJayden SpenceMcKenna Taylor