Photos by McMaster Athletics
For Steph Roberts, her fourth season as a Marauder could not have had a better start. Getting her first hat trick in the team’s season opener, a 4-1 defeat against the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks, was just the beginning of her success. Roberts scored the opening goal the following day to defeat the Waterloo Warriors and opened the scoring again in a tie game against the Windsor Lancers.
After moving up from midfield to forward this season, her goal for the new year was to be able to have an immediate impact and score goals, and she did just that. Roberts was the first female athlete to be named Ontario University Athletics’ and McMaster’s Pita Pit Athlete of the Week to start the season.
“These type of awards, as individual as they seem, are very much team awards,” said Roberts. “I would not have been able to get any of the goals that I did without my teammates. It’s the first time [since being on the team] we’ve gotten OUA athlete of the week so it was nice to get that attention towards our team.”
It is evident that Roberts’ talent and humility is why she was chosen to captain the 2018 season. Though at first this new role seemed quite daunting according to Roberts.
“It was my first year being named captain also so I had that extra bit of pressure,” Roberts said. “I know my teammates don’t expect me to get all of our goals. We have a lot of talented players that will end up scoring.”
Even though Roberts is the captain, she believes the team has leaders on every level.
“We really mesh well together,” said Roberts. “It’s not like there is just one person leading. I’m not just barking at everyone all the time. Everyone always just follows the rules and we sort of have captains within each year.”
Last year, the biggest change for the Marauders was on the coaching side as a whole new coaching staff was brought in by Joe Valvasori. This year, except for three experienced recruits, the team mainly consists of the same players. This has allowed the girls to be able to put the majority of their focus on further developing their skills on the field.
“I think [supporters] can look forward to watching much better soccer than they have seen in the past,” Roberts said. “We really worked well together in our first game and we pretty much had the ball in our possession for the entire game. I think they can look forward to exciting games within our league [OUA]. With the amount of competition, every single game is a battle so you can never really go in thinking we’re going to win — which just makes it that much more exciting.”
Catch Roberts and the Marauders at their upcoming home game against the York Lions this Friday.