The McMaster women’s rugby team advanced to the Ontario University Athletics championship game with a 24-10 semi-final victory over the Western Mustangs Saturday (Oct. 18), and in the process punched its ticket to the national collegiate tournament.
The start to Saturday night’s game was delayed when the Mustangs realized they had arrived at Ron Joyce Stadium without uniforms and someone had to drive back to London to retrieve them. The delay didn’t seem to impact the Marauders who carried the early play and got on the scoreboard first on a try by Saffara Whiteley-Hoffelner, with Stephanie Black adding the conversion.
McMaster built the lead up to 17-3 in the opening half, with tries from Emily Ricketts and Cindy Nelles, while Western got a penalty goal from Breanne Nicholas.
The second half saw Western’s Lori Josephson cross the touchline, with Nicholas adding the conversion to creep within 17-10.
The Marauders were able to gain some space when Nelles scored her second try of the contest, with Black adding the convert to lead 24-10 which stood up as the final score.
McMaster will now face the Guelph Gryphons in the championship game on Saturday, Oct. 25 at Ron Joyce Stadium, with a 4 p.m. start time. The two OUA finalists played to a 27-27 draw back on Sept. 28, but their next clash will decide the 2014 OUA champion. Guelph defeated last year’s champion, Queen’s Gaels, in the other semi-final.
By reaching the final, both McMaster and Guelph qualify for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championship Tournament at the University of Guelph, Oct. 30-Nov. 2.
Because Guelph qualifies as an OUA finalist, the winner of next week’s OUA bronze medal match between Western and Queen’s will assume the host berth and also qualify for the nationals.