McMaster women’s curling team wins their fourth OUA title
McMaster women’s curling team wraps up yet another successful season with a win at the OUA championship, places fifth at U Sports Championships
The McMaster University women's curling team just wrapped up another impressive, and perhaps underappreciated, season. Notably, the team won the 2023 Ontario University Athletics Championships and finished fifth at the national U SPORTS Championships.
Hosted by Ontario Tech University, the OUA Curling Championships took place over Feb. 3 to Feb 5. The championships kicked off with a four-game round-robin on Friday morning followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals.
By the end of the round-robin, the Marauders had a record of three wins and one loss. McMaster went on to win against the Western University Mustangs in the quarterfinals with a score of seven to three and the Queens University Gaels in the semifinals, eight to one.
The championship game came down to a close competition between McMaster and the Laurentian University Voyageurs on Sunday afternoon. After some back-and-forth action, McMaster broke the three-to-three tie in the eighth and final end to win the 2023 OUA Championships.
The OUA title is the fourth in McMaster women’s curling program history. A few Mac athletes received recognition with Evelyn Robert named as OUA first team all-star, while Grace Lloyd and Madelyn Warriner were named OUA second team all-stars.
“We won OUAs in 2020 as well and we had a couple of returning players from that year, and we also have some really talented players that just came in for their first year. So we were really excited going into it and were pretty confident that we could do well. We put in a lot of work practicing and training off-ice as well throughout the season,” explained Warriner.
The team training schedule consists of two hours of on-ice training, dry-land training with McMaster’s high-performance centre for athletes and a weekly open league game at the Dundas Valley Golf and Curling Club. Many of the athletes also play on competitive teams outside of McMaster on the weekends.
Following the OUA Championship, team headed to the U Sports Championships in Sudbury, Ontario which took place between Mar. 15 to Mar. 19. The national championships featured teams from Dalhousie University, the University of Alberta and the University of Prince Edward Island.
“It's a bit more of a surprise going into [the U Sports championship] I would say. You're not entirely sure what each specific team is going to bring to the table, but that's kind of what makes it so exciting. You don't really know what to expect and you really just focus on yourself and how you can personally prepare to be the best that you can, so that when you go into it you can perform at your top level,” said Warriner.
The Marauders played a total of seven games at the U Sports Championships. The final record was four losses and three wins against University of Victoria, University of PEI and Toronto Metropolitan University. It’s worth noting that McMaster was unable to clinch a semi-final spot against Laurentian, despite defeating the home team twice in the OUA Championships.
“They had been playing very well all week. We had seen it and it was reflected in their record — they were top of the table. So we knew going into it that we had to play really well if we wanted to beat them and they just had the edge on us that day,” explained Warriner.
Ultimately, McMaster finished fifth with University of Alberta taking home the 2023 U Sports championships. However, two McMaster athletes earning All-Canadian honours with Evelyn Robert named to the All-Canadian First Team and Grace Lloyd to the All-Canadian Second Team.
Looking ahead, Warriner and the McMaster women’s curling team have two key goals. To defend their OUA Championship title and to improve on their U Sports performance next year.