Women’s rugby wins first national title in program history

The McMaster Marauders are CIS women’s rugby champions after beating the tournament host Queen’s Gaels 27-3 in Kingston on Nov. 8.

CIS Player of the Year and Tournament MVP Cindy Nelles and tournament all-star Colleen Irowa scored two tries apiece to help the Marauders take home the gold and earn their first Monilex Trophy in program history.

“It’s a huge reward for the amount of work that the players have done this season,” said an excited head coach Shaun Allen in the wake of the win.

“The coaches and all of the staff were so well supported by our department, by the school and by the other athletes. It’s amazing. I’m incredibly proud right now.”

It was the second year in a row that McMaster has reached the CIS finals. They fell short to St. Francis Xavier in last year’s gold medal game, and the Marauders started their season with one goal in mind: to bring home the gold.

Queen’s got on the board early, sending a penalty kick through the uprights to put the Gaels up 3-0. But the Marauders powered forward and never looked back. They handed the ball off to Irowa, who touched it down past the goal line, and Steph Black converted as the Marauders led 7-3 at the break.

McMaster turned it up a notch early in the second half, with Irowa touching down her second try of the game within the first two minutes. The Marauder offence did not let up as 8-man Nelles continued her dominant play, as she passed the goal line and scored her first try of the game.

With the clock ticking down, McMaster continued to put on the pressure in front of a large crowd with many Marauder supporters. Katie Svoboda touched it down for the score, followed by Nelles who earned her second try of the game, extending McMaster’s lead to 24.

The final whistle was blown and the Marauder bench erupted, as players and coaching staff ran on to the field to celebrate their gold medal win.

“It’s absolutely been an incredible journey,” said Nelles. “This team has come so far from when I first came to McMaster and it’s been absolutely amazing to be a part of that journey.

This article was initially published at dailynews.mcmaster

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