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BW Women’s Rugby Team closes out Women’s History Month with power play

An event billed as "a celebration of powerful women" was part rugby tournament, part women's empowerment event.

At the “Powerful Women on the Pitchevent,” sophomore wing Hannah LeMaster ’25 was honored by the Cleveland Rugby Coalition, a local senior club, as the powerful woman of her team.

The Baldwin Wallace University Women's Rugby team staged their second "Powerful Women on the Pitch" event on Sunday, March 26, at George Finnie Stadium, aiming to lift up and inspire both the women on the field and in the stands.

While slides showcased a range of powerful BW women on the Finnie scoreboard throughout the four-team tourney, inspiring speakers opened and closed the event, including culminating remarks by National Collegiate Rugby Women's Director Angela Smarto.

Leading the way

BW women's rugby center Molly Cancian '23 with the ball

Rugby club president Molly Cancian '24 conceived of the event last year as a Women's History Month celebration.

Her goal, Cancian says, was to "honor the women of rugby, the importance of leadership and advancement of women in a male-dominated sport."

Cancian, a Women's Rugby Foundation "15 Under 30 Award" winner, has made her mark on and off the pitch for BW. A National Collegiate Rugby All-American, Scholastic All-American and All-Tournament Team member, she's also been named to the Ohio Valley Women's Collegiate Rugby Conference All-Conference Team and served as conference All-Star Team captain.

Honors all around

Her BW teammates and coach have also found success in a competitive club sport that returned to the campus roster of club teams in fall 2019. Athletes joining Cancian in garnering the most recent honors include:

Ohio Valley Women's Collegiate Rugby Conference All-Conference Team

  • Angelina Esposito
  • Abigail Kessler
  • Brittany Webb

Ohio Valley Women's Collegiate Rugby Conference All-Star Team

  • Alaina Hayes (also a Scholastic All-American)
  • Niyana Henderson
  • Sabrina Spillios

In addition, BW Head Women's Rugby Coach Vanessa Marsh was named Ohio Valley Women's Collegiate Rugby Conference Coach of the Year and Conference All-Star Team Coach in her first year coaching the talented roster of Yellow Jackets.

Yellow Jacket Women’s Rugby team from left to right, front row: Alaina Hayes, Maggie Moc, Gianna Sholtis, Shauna Whitt, Hanna Lemaster, Brittany Webb, Molly Cancian; Back Row: Niyana Henderson, Dempsi

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