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Edmonton Storm fall to Saskatoon Valkyries in WWCFL final

Nobody was going to put a dent in the Saskatoon Valkyries’ dynasty.

Saskatoon stomped the Edmonton Storm’s dream of winning their very first Western Women’s Canadian Football League championship on Saturday with a dominant 81-6 victory in the WWCFL championship game held in Lethbridge.

“We worked incredibly hard this season. We deserved to be there, but we’re disappointed and bummed about the result,” said Storm head coach Karin Simmons.

“They’re such a great team and they showed it in every way possible against us.”

On paper, the championship game had all the makings to be a classic.

It was a battle between the undefeated Storm, who were making their second straight championship appearance, against the powerhouse Valkyries, who were aiming to win their fifth title in six years.

But it was no contest.

It was 56-0 at halftime, and the Storm had no answer for the Valkyries, who have the deepest roster in the WWCFL and are a team that oozes experience — especially in big games.

“I knew it was a winnable game, but we had to be perfect. I think the game got into our players heads a little bit,” said Simmons.

“I’ve been both a player and a coach in this game, and it’s easy to freak yourself out. This is our girls Super Bowl, and it’s hard to turn off all the emotions you’re feeling.”

Valkyries running back Julene Friesen took home MVP honours scoring three touchdowns including a kick return for a touchdown.

Running back Sam Matheson scored two TDs, while receivers Stacey Boldt, Alyssa Weibe, Carly Dyck and running back Kendal Matheson scored one. Defensive back Rienna Rueve had a pick-six.

The Storm scored their only touchdown on a 95-yard kickoff return by running back Brenna Bouchard in the fourth quarter.

“We knew the girls were beating themselves up looking at the scoreboard. We went in (at halftime), and every coach said a little something, and I thought in the second half, we played better,” said Simmons.

“We got some stops. When you’re down like that, it’s extremely tough, but our team didn’t give up and they showed a lot of heart.”

The championship game clearly didn’t go how the Storm envisioned it would go, but the team has a lot to be proud of.

They were undefeated (6-0) heading into the championship. The growth of their program took big strides this year both on and off the field.

The team has a strong coaching staff that has worked hard developing the players and they have a solid foundation of players to continue to build around.

But it’s evident they need to continue to recruit to compete with the the Valkyries who are the WWCFL’s elite.

In the championship game, the Storm’s roster had 28 players, while Saskatoon had 57 players on their roster.

That’s more than a Canadian Football League active roster on a game day.

“Saskatoon has a huge roster. If someone isn’t doing their job they have someone breathing down their neck to take that job,” said Simmons.

“We need that internal competition building within our team. We know there are a lot of women that don’t know about us, and we need to do everything we can to recruit as many players. We know there are women out there who love football, and we just need to find them.”

WELL REPRESENTED: The inaugural Senior Women’s National Championship will be held July 28-31 in Regina.

The event hosts provincial teams all across Canada, and the Edmonton Storm will be well represented.

QB Aria McGowan, RB Brenna Bouchard, WR Emma Goldsney, WR Chantelle Chenard, OL Megan Tyler, OL Shelby Prosser, DB Stephanie Liew, DB Stephanie Mackie, LB Tanya Henderson and DT Sanderina Twin will suit up for Team Alberta.

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