Record is perfect no longer
The Marauders’ perfect record did not survive their trip to Guelph, but their season itself is far from over.
Losing for the first time this season, the McMaster women's rugby team fell to the Guelph Gryphons 36-5 in the OUA Championship on Oct. 29.
Played on the Saturday night at Varsity Field, the game marked the toughest test the dominant Gryphons have faced all season. By reaching the final, both teams had already claimed their place at the CIS tournament, to be held in Peterborough on November 3-6.
The Marauders came into the match with a 7-0 record, having earned a CIS tournament berth by defeating the Brock Badgers in the OUA semifinal. It will be the program’s first appearance on the national stage since the tournament’s inception in 1998.
OUA All-Star Natasha Turner scored the lone try for the Maroon and Grey on the day, as the Gryphon's attack proved to be too strong to be denied for long. After pinning Guelph in their end early, the Marauders were unable to capitalize on a cold night that saw numerous ball-handling errors.
The Gryphons were able to turn defence into offence, and the second-ranked team in the nation did not look back. The title is the Gryphons fourth in a row and 11th since it was first contested in 1994.
Both teams will venture to Peterborough this weekend to compete at the CIS Championships. The Trent Excalibur, who were knocked out of the OUA playoffs early by the Queen's Gaels, will also compete as hosts, giving the province three representatives at the tournament.
Rounding out the competition are the top-ranked St. Francis Xavier X-Women (the AUS champions), the Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ champions) and the Lethbridge Pronghorns (Canada West champions).
The X-Women have been ranked first in the nation all season long, and defeated Acadia 60-0 in the Atlantic final for their 14th straight conference title. Lethbridge also enjoyed a dominant undefeated season, culminating with a 41-0 shutout of Alberta in the title match. The title was their sixth in a row.
Laval is yet another undefeated champion heading to Ontario, having beaten Concordia 43-27 in the RSEQ final.
Trent is hosting the tournament for the second year in a row, and will look to improve on their 0-3 mark posted last year.
St. Francis Xavier will be looking to defend their 2010 title, and earn their third overall. Lethbridge looks to return to the winner’s circle after winning three titles in a row, from 2007 to 2009.
Pool A will consist of St. FX, Trent and Lethbridge, while McMaster, Laval and Guelph will play in Pool B. This setup guarantees a rematch of the OUA final between the Marauders and Gryphons.
The fifth place, bronze medal and gold medal games will be played on Nov. 6. Matches will be live-streamed on SSN Canada.