OUA UNCOVERED: 2014-15 season in review
AUDERS DEFEAT RIVAL GRYPHONS IRST TITLE IN PROGRAM HISTORY HAMILTON Ont, - While their captain looked on from the sidelines, the Marauders clinched the first OUA title in their program’s history. Russell Division All-Star Cindy Nelles was ruled out after sustaining an injury in last week’s semifinal, but her team rallied in her absence and ground out a 19-10 victory over the Guelph Gryphons at Ron Joyce Stadium, Saturday October 25th. Maddy Seatle’s last-ditch try with just three minutes to play sealed the result for McMaster, as Colleen Irowa sprung free of the pack and launched the Marauders downfield before Seatle received the final pass and touched down. Fullback Rina Charalampis and Sara Svoboda -- who was wearing the number eight in Nelles’ place on Saturday -- also had tries for the Marauders in the win. Cara Humeniuk and Brittany Priddle had tries for the Gryphons in a losing effort. It was a defensive contest, and one in which McMaster absorbed intense pressure from their visitors. That trend began early, as the Gryphons probed deep into Marauder territory in search of a try in the first 10 minutes. But McMaster’s defence was organized and resolute -- as it would prove to be throughout the contest -- and the danger passed. Instead, it was the Marauders who opened the scoring fifteen minutes from the opening whistle, as Charalampis found the final opening to slip over the end line and cap an extended drive with a try. Stephanie Black’s convert was good and pushed McMaster’s lead to 7-0 in the early stages. The response was quick and decisive from Guelph, who
struck just two minutes later when a McMaster miscue led Humeniuk to open space and a Gryphon try. Their convert attempt was no good, however, and the Marauders continued to lead 7-5. Four minutes from halftime, the home side swung momentum again when the ball came loose of a ruck yards from the Guelph end line and Svoboda pounced to touch down. Black’s convert buzzed low of the uprights, and McMaster took a 12-5 lead into the break. Guelph emerged with purpose in the second half, and pinned the Marauders deep in their end for much of the 40-minute period. But, much as they had in the first, McMaster’s defenders held the Gryphons at bay time and time again. The pressure eventually paid dividends for Guelph when Priddle took a short pass out wide across the end line to cut the Gryphons deficit to two points. But the angle was challenging for the convert attempt, and it sailed wide to maintain McMaster’s lead. With the Gryphons threatening to steal the game in the dying moments, the Marauders produced a breathtaking counter attack to put the match beyond reach. McMaster received possession deep in their end, and swung a series of passes to the left that eventually sprung Irowa, who beat a would-be tackler and slashed well upfield. She was stopped as she crossed into Guelph territory, but the Marauders controlled the ruck well and kept the forward thrust moving. It was Seatle who received the last ball in reach of the end line, and out-ran the trailing Gryphons for the dramatic late score. That seemingly took the steam out of the Gryphons, and the Marauders saw out the victory simply in the final minutes.