The Official Website of Grand Canyon University Club Sports.

Grand Canyon University Club Sports

Mahoney Coaches Youth Team to 2nd-Place Finish

EIRA U-16 women's team
August 9, 2021

EIRA competes with 1st-ever all-female squad

By: Maria Adams/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff

History was made before they ever stepped foot on the field.

Grand Canyon University Women’s Rugby Head Coach Lindsey Mahoney led the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy Women’s U-16 squad to a second-place finish in the North American Invitational Sevens in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The historic part was not the second-place finish, though.

“Just this past year, we decided to expand to females,” said Mahoney. “Aside from the results, this was already a cool tournament because this was the first time that EIRA has been able to bring a completely female squad. EIRA had been primarily a boys academy.”

The pressure of representing EIRA as females for the first time competitively did not hinder the team’s abilities or game plan on the field.

“The girls were undefeated – up until the last game when they lost the championship,” said Mahoney. “I had several different coaches tell me how sharp they looked out there. They did all the small things right, and it showed.”

While an important milestone for EIRA, Mahoney also sees the tournament as an important building block towards worldwide expansion and interest of the sport.

“The Tokyo Olympics has put a nice spotlight on women’s rugby,” said Mahoney. “Now with rugby being an emerging sport in the NCAA as well, our goal is to get these girls those opportunities to play collegiately.”

The USA Women’s Rugby team’s heartbreaking loss to Great Britain may have stripped their chances of a medal in Tokyo, but the increased publicity added to the existing growth trend of the sport.

While the rest of America is becoming increasingly aware of women’s rugby’s great strides, Mahoney has been watching those strides within her tournament team for months.

“We started off strong just because the girls have been able to build a strong team connection and culture the past few months,” said Mahoney. “I am just excited to continue to work with the girls.”

Interested in joining GCU Women’s Rugby? Contact Coach Mahoney today!