Brianna Miller, a fourth-year back on the Martlets, was named CIS player of the year in women’s rugby, Wednesday night.
Miller, a native of Pointe-Claire, Que., became the first player from the RSEQ conference to merit the national MVP award since the sport made its CIS debut back in 1998.
Other winners announced during the All-Canadian Gala held at Universel Hotel in Quebec City were Calgary prop DaLeaka Menin, who was named rookie of the year; Dino teammate Tarin Arndt, who received the Student-Athlete Community Service Award; and Acadia’s Matthew Durant, who earned the Jim Atkinson Award as coach of the year.
Miller, a 5-foot-6 physical education senior, won her third straight RSEQ scoring title this season thanks to 100 points on a league-leading 34 conversions, four penalty goals and four tries in just seven games. Accounting for 32.3 per cent of McGill’s offence in conference play (310 points), she converted 34 of 46 tries for a success rate of 73.9 per cent and became the team’s all-time leading scorer with 370 points in 26 career regular season contests, an average of 14.2 points per outing.
Thanks in large part to the spectacular play of their team captain, the Martlets maintained their best record (6-1) since 2005, good for second place in the RSEQ standings. McGill went on to upset previously undefeated Concordia in the Quebec final to advance to the CIS championship for the first time in eight years.
Named a CIS all-Canadian for the second straight season, Miller is a two-time RSEQ most valuable player, three-time league all-star and former rookie of the year. Last July, the 21-year-old helped Canada win bronze at the inaugural Summer Universiade rugby sevens tournament in Russia.
“Brianna’s individual skills are brilliant,” said McGill head coach Matthew Stephens, who served as technical director and assistant coach of the Canadian national senior women’s team from 2003 to 2006. “She kicks, with both feet, for points at an international level. She passes both left and right-handed, is a strong tackler and an amazingly elusive runner. A natural leader, she has worked very hard on her vision and how to run a game, improving all those around her. She has become a complete player at a high-level. Her finesse and vision have played a large role in our success.”
The 2013 CIS championship kicks off Thursday at TELUS-Université Laval Stadium and concludes on Sunday with the gold-medal final scheduled for 2 p.m. All nine games from the six-team tournament will be webcast live on CIS-SIC.tv. McGill’s first game is at 10:30 a.m. on Friday morning versus either Guelph or top-seeded St. Francis Xavier X-Women.
For more on the 2013 CIS women’s rugby championships, click here.