On Sunday Sept. 29, McMaster hosted the University of Guelph women’s soccer team in the squad’s second match-up of the season. The Marauders put forth a memorable performance that day – but not a positive one. McMaster’s display was the worst of the season, displaying no energy or urgency.
Mac dropped the game 2-0, but was lucky to escape with such a tame score line. The reason for the loss was not because they were outplayed by Guelph, but instead that they did not bring the level of effort required to compete in the OUA. To top it off, the match had major implications on the OUA East table, as Mac could have vaulted themselves into second in the conference. Instead, they tumbled to the bottom half of the standings.
Following the loss, head coach Brett Mosen was quick to apologize for the squad’s form and did not mince words when describing the game.
“That game is the low point – performance-wise – since I’ve been at Mac. This is my third season and that was certainly the poorest performance I’ve seen. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get it right,” said Mosen.
During the match, Maroon players were at each other’s throats with arms being thrown up constantly and no one hesitating to chew someone out over a poor touch. Mosen realized that team chemistry was bottoming out and called a team meeting for the following day.
“There is always times, after a performance like that, where you have to clear the air. It’s not about me talking in the changeroom, it’s about figuring out what’s going on with the girls. Training the following morning had a much more positive outlook,” the head coach said.
Mosen partially chalks the performance up to a perfect storm of causes. Mac’s previous game required both the men and women’s squads to travel to Windsor, Ont. to take on the Lancers. The women’s side was able to pull out a 1-1 draw but grabbing the point came with a consequence. Mac did not return to Hamilton until 3 a.m. and their fatigue showed in the Gryphon tilt.
The other major contributor was the absence of captain Sophia Ykema due to a concussion suffered in a game against the Western Mustangs. While the third-year player did her best to offer advice from the sideline, Ykema could not force them to elevate their play.
Mosen had some positive comments after the Guelph loss. He lauded the play of rookies who have stepped up in what he describes as the “worst season for injuries” the seasoned coach has ever seen. Specifically, he pointed out Anne Yeboah for her talents in the offensive third and speculated that an OUA Rookie of the Year award could be hers in the future.
With six games remaining and four of those on the road, McMaster cannot dwell on the Guelph loss – there simply isn’t enough time to lick wounds. As of Oct. 2, Mac sits tied for fourth in the standings and still has to play Laurier, York and nationally-ranked Western, all away from Ron Joyce.
McMaster’s coaching staff will not waver from their original expectations and suspects the Gryphon drubbing to serve as a reality check for the team.
“The bubble has burst. Hard work has to come out now and make sure we’re still in contention to get into the playoffs,” Mosen said.