In the short and compact rugby season, the Marauders have been able to pull off a record of 4-3.
This mediocre record does not do the Maroon and Grey justice however, as they are up against two of the most talented teams in the country – notably the Queen’s Gaels and the Guelph Gryphons.
“The OUA has some very good competition,” said veteran captain, Cindy Nelles.
Although the OUA is stacked with exceptional teams and talent, however, Nelles believes that the Marauders have improved throughout the season, and can continue to improve their record in seasons to come, so that they can compete with the more dominant teams in the CIS.
“We definitely have room for improvement. We made huge gains throughout the season, from day one to even half-way throughout the season… we’ve just been on a steady climb. If we can continue that habit into next season or pick up where we left off this season, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
Nelles thinks that the 4-3 record is decent right now, but if this begins to be a trend for McMaster heading into next season, she won’t be proud of it.
“I think that next year, if we have this record, I won’t be satisfied,” added Nelles.
The Marauders third loss on the record was due to the dominant Guelph Gryphons on Saturday, Oct. 19, where the Maroon and grey faced a tough loss to the visiting team.
But the game was not all bad for the Marauders, as they still managed to hold their ground against the Gryphons, and they kept the team’s score to the lowest score they had all season- 20-0.
This fate is similar to what the Marauder’s faced last year in the quarter-finals, except their loss was of a greater differential. They lost 72-0 to the Gryphon team last season.
But Nelles feels as though seeing the Gryphon team so often has allowed them to become a lot more familiar with the way the Gryphon system works, and their style of play.
“The more you face a team, the more you learn a little bit of how they play, that makes you train to how they play…then you think you’ve stepped up your game, and then they change their game. It is just this constant cat and mouse effect,” said Nelles.
The Marauders managed to match the Gryphons game a lot better this season than last however, which spoke volumes about the continual improvement of the team.
“I think that says something about our team, and even just improvements from last year to this year. We’ve made huge gains,” said the captain.
One of these gains is confidence, which Nelles believes only grew over-time with experience.
“Through getting experience in the OUA, building those games and getting the chemistry going, I think that we’re a much more confident team in our skills and capabilities. I think that has helped us execute a lot of what we want to do on the field.”
This confidence has grown out of the development of the players, and the change of a young team, to an older one.
“Last year, we were a very novice team comprised mainly of first and second years. Each year we are getting more and more experience and I just think that will be huge for us,” added Nelles.
Before the team looks too far ahead, however, Nelles knows that they need to concentrate on defeating the Western Mustangs for an OUA bronze medal on home territory, which is a match that Nelles thinks the Marauders bring a lot to the plate for.
“I think that we definitely have strength in our forwards. Our forwards have been able to produce a fairly good scrum. In the backs, we definitely have some smart players back there. There are a few girls that are very good at making decisions and can execute. We definitely have a very aggressive team. I think that will bode well for us.”
The Marauders will bring their aggression and experience to the anticipated match against Western on Saturday Oct. 26 on the Back Ten field, where they will hope to receive the bronze medal for the second year in a row.