North Vancouver’s Savannah Bauder charged her way to the front of the pack in Canadian university rugby this year, earning the U Sports women’s rugby player of the year award following a dominant campaign with the UBC Thunderbirds.
The fourth-year Carson Graham grad played a pivotal role in UBC’s undefeated regular season on the way to winning the Canada West championship. The fly half led the conference with 70 points during the regular season, a tally that included seven tries, 16 converts and a rare drop goal, the first kicked in a U Sports game for several years, according to a release from the league.
Bauder then picked her game up even more in the Canada West playoffs, scoring three tries in a dominant semifinal win over the Lethbridge Pronghorns.
In the Canada West championship final Bauder continued to do the heavy lifting, scoring all of UBC’s points in a tough 10-0 win over the University of Victoria to give the Thunderbirds their fourth straight conference title.
At the national championships the Thunderbirds lost in the quarterfinals 7-5 against the host Laval Rouge et Or. Bauder helped the Thunderbirds bounce back from the loss, earning player of the game honours as UBC smashed UPEI 75-0 in a consoltion bracket game. She then notched 19 points in a 39-21 win over Ottawa in the fifth-place game.
This year Bauder was also named the Canada West player of the year, the second time she’s earned that honour in the past three seasons.
This summer Bauder starred for the national U23 women’s team, helping Canada sweep a two-game series against the United States in Boston. Bauder scored three tries and kicked several conversions as Team Canada knocked off Team U.S.A. 24-5 in the first game and 55-14 in the second game.