Photo from Silhouette Photo Archives
By Graham West
After an impressive performance against the York Lions, Cassidy Calvert is one of a few upper-year players looking ready to lead McMaster’s women’s rugby team to an incredibly successful season.
Calvert was named Pita Pit Athlete of the Week because of her game against York where the fifth-year hooker had two tries and a very strong on-field presence in which she helped lead the team to victory.
“It’s really nice when you work your butt off for something and you get rewarded for it,” Calvert said. “It’s really nice when people notice when you’re working really hard.”
The team is led by a legion of veterans who know that leadership has to be present on the field in addition to in the locker room, as three of the veterans each scored a pair of tries in the game against the Lions. Yet not all leaders see themselves taking on that role until it is time.
“I’ve always said I’m not really someone who has wanted to be in a captain role,” said Calvert. “A leader role is something that’s so broad I’d rather someone hear my name or see me on the field and go, ‘that’s what I wanna do, that’s someone I want to look up to’.”
It is clear that Calvert and the other veterans intend to lead by example, which is especially important this year as the roster boasts a larger number of first-year players than usual.
Even with a fairly new roster with more new recruits than they have seen in a long time, Calvert still says chemistry is strong. Calvert added that the team has the mentality of cooperating and just putting their heads down for the purpose of winning.
Currently ranked fifth nationally, expectations are high for the Marauders, a feeling shared by the team. Calvert said the rankings are positive but not something the team focuses on. She added that the team is more focused on performing and playing well week in and week out than paying attention to the rankings.
After their huge 57-12 victory against York at the end of August, the women’s rugby team is off to a hot start. They will look to carry this momentum back home when they play Queen’s University on Homecoming weekend. The Gaels fell to two spots lower than Mac on the national rankings, but the Marauders are aware that they are a good team who will pose a tough test.
When asked about their upcoming game Calvert said there is no reason they should not be able to perform the way they did against York in this contest or any game for the remainder of the season. With sights set on the national championship, the team is reaching for the stars, although Calvert says they need to focus on the process first.
“Right now it’s winning [Ontario University Athletics] because you have to win that before,” Calvert said. “You can come second but we don’t want that. You have to win one before you get to the other. We do have a lot of fifth-years this year so I know this is our last hoorah, so it’s something we really want. I know it will be a fight no matter what and I think everyone’s taking it very seriously which is good.”
Calvert shared that the team keeps a phrase in mind throughout the entire season as a motivator: ‘Here for one reason’. That one reason is to win rugby games. Calvert said head coach Tim Doucette uses it as motivation to make sure everyone is giving it their all. It is especially important to veteran players such as Calvert as this is their last year playing university rugby and intend on giving their all to the season ahead.
They will next be representing the maroon and grey against Queen’s on Sept. 15, Homecoming weekend. The women’s rugby team is definitely one of the teams to watch this upcoming athletic season at Mac, with one of their biggest rosters yet, packed full of talent and they definitely have the potential to win it all.