A historic women's lacrosse game at the North American Indigenous Games resulted in a close victory for Ontario's under-19 team, who beat British Columbia by a score of 8-7 on Monday.

The inaugural women's match, which took place at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, marks the first time that females have been allowed to play lacrosse in the games' 25-year history.

Lacrosse comes home to the Indigenous Games2:55

And it was a close one to the end.

"Our team played exactly how we wanted to and we came out with the win," said an ecstatic Taylor-Rain Tabobandung, 19, who comes from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. 

"I was screaming, I couldn't stop," said her teammate — and younger sister — Kendall Tabobandung, 14.

Nail-biter

The sisters had practised for months before this game. Both teams played fiercely. With each period, the score remained nail-bitingly close.

Tara White NAIG

Tara White watches as her daughter, Ainsley Allan, competes for B.C. in the first-ever women's lacrosse game at the North American Indigenous Games. (Tim Fontaine/CBC)

While it was a disappointing defeat for Team B.C., the match itself was still something the athletes' parents and supporters felt very proud of. While the arena wasn't exactly full, the sound of the audience was at times a roar.

"What an exciting game," said Tara White, mother of B.C. player Ainsley Allan.

From the Snuneymuxw First Nation on Vancouver Island, White said she was on the edge of her seat the entire game.

"They played so hard … that's exactly why we came."

History made

The fact that the first women's lacrosse match was played in this area, which is steeped in the traditions of what people here call the Creator's or Medicine Game, is a source of great pride for Six Nations of the Grand River Chief Ava Hill.

"As everyone is going to find out, it's the fastest game on two feet," she told the audience and the two teams before the game. 

"Congratulations to all of you girls. You are an inspiration to all of the young girls that are going to be watching you."

Team Ontario

Members of Team Ontario huddle with their coach before the game. Ontario won by a score of 8-7. (Tim Fontaine/CBC)

There will be male and female games on each day of the games at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena and Gaylord Powless Arena in Six Nations, as well as the Harry Howell Arena in Hamilton, Ont. 

The gold medal games take place on Friday.


Follow along the latest NAIG action on our live blog.