It was an intense season for the Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL) but the Regina Riot came out victorious over the Saskatoon Valkyries during the league final on June 24 at Mosaic Stadium.
It was a close contest for both teams but the Riot wanted it just a little more with a 14-10 final score.
Some familiar faces graced both Saskatchewan teams with Muenster’s Rienna Rueve continuing as a long time defensive back for the Valkyries and Humboldt’s Lisa Popoff taking to the field for her first year as a member of the Riot offensive line.
The Valkyries were in control for most of the final, says Rueve, and holding the Riot to 14 should have ensured a victory. However, the Riot wanted it just that much more, she says.
“We needed a little bit more offensively. We started off really well; we drove the ball and got turnovers on defense, things were looking really good doing what we needed to.”
Popoff has enjoyed her first season with the Riot, especially with being apart of a championship win.
“Both teams fought really hard for the championship. I’m really proud of our team for pulling through.”
Inexperience, especially during the last two seasons, has made for a green team, says Rueve, and that is reflective of the teams record with losses only to Regina throughout the last two seasons. With many players hoping to make a return for next season, Rueve says that is going to make a difference in next year’s performance.
A new bracket made for a Saskatchewan only championship final with conference crossover semi-finals bringing Alberta teams in to the mix before the league final.
That was a change that Rueve was excited to hear about, she says. Based on previous years preformances, the league veteran long predicted a Riot versus Valkyrie league final, which made for an exciting game to watch for fans.
Saskatchewan teams have consistently come out on top in the last eight years of the WWCFL that spans all three prairie provinces. Rueve says they see that in mens’ Saskatchewan teams as well.
Rueve attributes knowledgeable, dedicated, and passionate coaching staff for providing that Saskatchewan edge.
Even back during the Valkyrie dynasty of four straight championship wins, Rueve says the rivalry has always been there between the two Saskatchewan teams. The past two seasons have been owned by the Riot but Rueve says that both teams are well established and games could have gone either way.
“The whole season has been about beating Regina. That’s the mentality it’s been the last few years. Those are the games that really matter.”
From May to June the rivalry can be intense, says Rueve, but outside of the WWCFL, the Valkyries and the Riot join forces during national competitions to become Team Saskatchewan.