The McMaster men’s soccer team kept the ball rolling last week with a pair of 2-0 victories against the Western Mustangs and the UOIT Ridgebacks.
Defender Kody Kazda opened the scoring in the 32nd minute against the Mustangs with his first goal of the season. The defensive line was solid for the Marauders, as they held Western’s offense to only three shots on target. Midfielder Nate Morris chipped in with an insurance goal in the 83rd minute to secure the win for the Maroon and Grey. Goalkeeper Angelo Cavalluzzo kept the Mustangs off the score sheet for the 2-0 shutout.
The Marauders then travelled to Oshawa, Ont. for a rematch with the UOIT Ridgebacks. Similar to their last meeting, Mac went on to capture a relatively easy-going 2-0 victory. McMaster dominated the play in the first half, generating 9 shots on goal. Defenseman Aleksandar Vincic opened the scoring in the 33rd minute with his first goal of the season. Striker Gersi Xhuti followed it up with another goal in the 45th minute, giving him the team lead in goals scored with 6 for the season. Cavalluzzo earned his third shutout in four games, saving all four shots on target en route to the victory.
The pair of victories last week puts the Marauders atop the heavily contested OUA West. McMaster’s 32 points in 14 games gives them the slight edge over the York Lions, who have earned 31 points in 13 games. Mac’s 32 points puts them only 2 points back of OUA leading Ryerson Rams.
However, despite their record, the Marauders are more focused on making the playoffs than anything else. Co-captain Paterson Farrell spoke of the possibility of leading the OUA, “coming first in the league would definitely be an accomplishment, because we’ve never done that before, but it’s not a huge deal if we don’t as long as we’re playing our best by playoffs that’s all that matters.”
He also praised goalkeeper Cavalluzzo and his defensive line, citing that “Angelo is a great goalie and I am never nervous when I see him back there. Along with the four defenders, they make our defense one of the best in the OUA…I can’t wait to see them shut down CIS teams.” McMaster has allowed the fewest goals against per game, limiting their opponents to a mere 8 goals in 14 matches.
Farrell was also quick to dole out praise to his fellow strikers and midfielders. In particular, he complimented Xhuti and Morris, who have scored 6 and 5 goals respectively. “Gersi and Nate have definitely stepped up for us this year. Both of them work extremely hard and have an ability to find back of the net. When we need a clutch goal, those are two that we look to,” Farrell said.
With only two games remaining in the regular season, Farrell says that the goal is to “finish strong, hopefully with two wins.” Should they win their final two games of the season, the Marauders have an excellent shot at finishing atop the OUA.
The men’s soccer team will play their final regular season match at home on Oct. 19, when they take on the Brock Badgers at 3:15 p.m.