Kate Stepanov reaches out for an opponent's flag in this past weekend's powderpuff football tournament at McMaster University. Photo by Luc Daviau

Kate Stepanov reaches out for an opponent’s flag in this past weekend’s powderpuff football tournament at McMaster University. Photo by Luc Daviau

On the weekend of January 30 and 31, the Laurier Brantford Women’s Powderpuff Football team played their first tournament of the year at McMaster University.  On both Friday and Saturday, the team faced back-to-back games. They lost games against their competitors; The Waterloo Shockers and Sheridan College, and fell shy of a win against Humber College with a score of 6-0. However, the girls came back the next day and won their first game of the season 14-0 against D.C.-U.O.I.T (Durham College-University of Ontario Institute of Technology).

Despite the disappointing losses on the first day and the close loss against Humber on the second, one of the coaches, Marcus Tansley, remained quite hopeful for the team. “We never felt like we were down and out in any games,” he explained and the team is made up of a lot of rookies, new to the sport. It’s, “tough getting chemistry and plays together,” Tansley continued.“Offense has struggled a little bit, defense has played unreal.” In spite of the frigid cold weather of -11 degrees Celsius, the team’s spirit was never dampened.

The offense appeared to show a spark of magic in their final game of the tournament, putting up two touchdowns to completely out-match the team from D.C.-U.O.I.T. The first touchdown was scored by number seven, Samantha Machado as she carried the ball into the end-zone after breaking through the defensive line swiftly and untouched. After receiving a pass and facing little coverage, number 13, Demi Cartwright took advantage of the opportunity and put Laurier Brantford up two touchdowns to none. The superior defense of Laurier Brantford made it impossible for their competition to make any damage on the scoreboard. The strong defense stomped down any chance D.C.-U.O.I.T. had and forced the opposing quarterback to overthrow and rush plays. Laurier Brantford forced their competition out of their comfort zone, making their victory a solid one.

The team was ecstatic with the victory and rightly so. “We are a new team,” Captain Tamara Skoretz explained. “We only have about a handful of veterans that came back [from the previous year] and we are actually playing against a lot of our own players at this tournament.” Facing old teammates as competitors while having new players can be difficult to create a strong chemistry, but these tough ladies did it so well. With only one win under their belt this tournament it was safe to say they did not advance, but after watching a solid performance, one can expect this team to quickly develop into a much stronger force.

Unfortunately, working with a new team and players new to the sport, they face a financial struggle as well that makes it difficult for the team to strive to imminent success. “Athletics has forced us to take buses to every tournament,” Skoretz explained. “We have like 10 girls, we have to pay four hundred dollars for a bus.” This is a large price to pay as Skoretz explained that, “[Laurier] gave us a hundred dollars towards our season.” The insufficient funds to their team place pressures on the girls that want to play to pay out of their own pockets and their own time. It truly is “all what the girls put in fundraising” that makes or breaks the team.

Currently the team is making efforts to fundraise money through bottle drives, taking empty bottles and cans from people and bringing them back to the store for deposits. The girls are always looking for donations either money or empty bottles.

The Laurier Brantford Flag football team will play next weekend at the O.U.A. in Waterloo. This is one of the biggest tournaments the team will face this year because the competition is spread across all of Ontario. Show your support for fellow Golden Hawks as the Brantford team showdown against all of the other universities.