It was another successful weekend from the McMaster Marauders men’s soccer team, picking up another two victories against mediocre OUA opponents and securing themselves a second-place spot.
On Saturday, McMaster travelled to the University of Guelph, taking on a Gryphon squad who is jockeying for playoff position. Earlier in the season, the Marauders beat the Gryphons 3-1 and the Maroon and Grey would experience a similar result in their second match-up of the season, earning the victory 2-1.
The scoring began in the 27th minute, with Gersi Xhuti scoring his 4th goal of the 2012 campaign. The first half would end with a 1-0 lead, but the score failed to highlight the domination by McMaster.
The Gryphons struggled to maintain possession or put together any sort of offense in the first half, but their difficulties would end in the second half. A Guelph striker broke through the Mac defense and scored a goal to even up the score in the 49th minute of action.
The tie would not last long though, with a rare goal from defender Garrett McConville. The sweeper’s game-winning score was only the second of his career, but it was enough to give the Maroon and Grey the edge and increase their lead in the OUA West table over the trailing Western University Mustangs.
McMaster’s winning ways would not stop there. On Sunday, the Marauders hosted the UOIT Ridgebacks, a team who’s only captured three victories in 16 games. In the previous matchup, Mac defeated the Ridgebacks with a 1-0 victory, despite an overwhelming presence in the offensive third of the pitch.
In the rematch, McMaster would conduct another impressive performance over the decade-old school from Oshawa, Ont. winning 2-0 at Ron Joyce Stadium. Ryan Garnett would continue his excellent play in the second of the 2012 season, scoring the eventual game-winning goal in the 39th minute. Garnett finished from just outside the 18-yard box with a strike to create the 1-0 margin.
Sparks would fly in the second half, starting with a second half tally from defender Dominik Blachut, the first goal of his career. At the mid-point of the second half, tensions would boil over between both sides. A shouting match between coaching staffs began before the head referee broke up either side. Short after, a UOIT player would earn his second yellow card of the game, forcing UOIT to play one man short.
McMaster could not capitalize on the opportunity and the game would end 2-0 to push McMaster’s record to 11-1-1. Mac sits three points behind the conference leading York Lions. The Lions host the Marauders on Wednesday in one of the biggest games of the entire CIS season.
York is ranked No.1 in the nation and McMaster is ranked No.4, and this match could decide who finishes first on the OUA table.
The University of Windsor will host McMaster on Friday for their second match up of the season, looking for revenge after the Lancers took a loss on the road to the Marauders.
The Maroon and Grey will also hit the road for a match against the Western Mustangs on Sunday for their final regular season match. OUA playoff action begins on Wednesday Oct. 24.