By: Tom Lewis
Two wins over OUA West Division whipping boys Algoma last weekend capped an impressive tilt at the Blackwood Trophy for McMaster men’s soccer, and spirits are high as they head into the playoffs.
Over two fixtures, the Marauders struck twelve goals past a hapless Algoma defence, conceding just two in reply.
Those victories earned Mac a strong finish to the OUA West Division, with eleven wins, three draws and two defeats leaving them in second place, four points off third, but eight from the division’s strongest outfit, York.
Head coach Dino Perri was satisfied with his side’s performance this season, but had some reservations. “We have been inconsistent. We have had some great games and some mediocre games,” said Perri.
“If we showed up to play each and every game we would be undefeated heading into the playoffs.”
Co-captain Paterson Farrell echoed his coach’s thoughts.
“Overall our performance this year has been great, but no season is perfect. We’ve had a few speed-bumps along the way, but were able to fight through them and finish strongly,” said Farrell.
Both coach and were quick to praise the team’s strength in depth.
“It really has been a team effort,” said Perri. “Throughout the course of the year we have probably started over twenty different players, and we have had great contributions from a number of different players.”
“We can play any of our guys without hesitation, which will be useful heading into the playoffs,” said Farrell.
One of McMaster’s most impressive performances this at home came against Brock, a September fixture in which the Marauders were on song, beating their opponents by five goals to nil.
“In my opinion, that was our best game this year. We had a lot of energy and executed our game plan perfectly. It gave us an indication of how well we can actually play,” said Farrell.
McMaster’s second place finish has earned them a bye to the quarterfinals of the playoffs. The Marauders will head in to their first playoff game confident they can take on all comers.
“We just need to tidy everything up a bit. We are in good shape and are playing well, but need to make sure we are focussed for the full game and play how we are capable of from start to finish,” said Perri.
He finished with a volley of encouragement for his players as they prepare for the biggest fixtures of their season so far.
“I think that this group has what it takes to turn it on for the playoffs, and to do what we need to do in order to challenge for the championship and make a nice run at nationals,” Perri said.
Paterson added, “Our goal of winning a national championship this year hasn’t changed, but we need to take it one game at a time, work hard and focus on what we can control.
“I have the utmost confidence in our players and coaching staff, and that we will be focussed and ready for our first game next Sunday.”