The story of the Marauders’ success thus far has not just been about great coaching, solid goal keeping, and the ability to put the ball in the back of the net. Although all of that is true, their prosperity digs much further than that. The story is exceptional defence, which stunned the No. 1 CIS ranked team at Ron Joyce Stadium.
The York Lions squad entered the contest undefeated, winning previous games with scores of 8-0, and 5-1 against the Brock Badgers and Western Mustangs respectively. The high-scoring team had a lot of confidence, but the Marauders were prepared for that.
“They’re a special team … they’re one of the best teams in Canada, their record shows it,” said head coach Dino Perri.
“I think the coaches knew that we’re also one of the best teams in Canada. It was just a matter of proving it to the players, and I think they proved that.”
In the first half, the Marauders and the Lions both had their fair share of opportunities to score, but they could not get past the keepers, who both made some outstanding saves to keep their respective teams in the game early on.
After a scoreless first half, Perri knew that his team was on the track to victory.
“I told them that [York] was a good team and they’re going to get their opportunities and we’re a good team as well and we’re going to get our opportunities, just stay on course and we’ll prove to do well in the second half,” said Perri.
It was as if Perri foreshadowed his team’s fate for the remainder of the game, as the Marauders continued to play incredibly well in the second frame, with Paterson Farrell putting his foot on a rebound from the York keeper, which put the Maroon and grey up 1-0.
After the home team opened up the scoring, the Marauders switched to a more defensive game, as desperation began to set in for York.
“I think they started pushing more which sort of dictated us, and made us play a little more defensively,” said Perri on the Marauders lead.
Although the York team moved a little quicker and pushed a little harder, their effort was not enough, as Mac kept the lead and won 1-0.
Perri credited his defenders for the win, as they kept the powerhouse team off of the score sheet, and on their toes for the entire game.
“We did a really, really, good job defending, especially in our own end…and that’s a huge, huge, huge accomplishment and at the same time, we still created chances for ourselves,” added Perri.
The 1-0 game proved to be a major confidence booster for the Maroon and Grey, as taking down the number one team in Canada is never an easy task.
“With a lot of new players in the line-up this year, we’re trying to find our identity and I think this game went a long way to get us to building our confidence and knowing what we’re capable of doing,” said Perri.
The Marauders’ confidence from the win on Friday was carried over to their game on Sunday, where they beat the Windsor Lancers with a score of 3-1.
Farrell, Nate Morris, and rookie Sascha Ricciuti were the goal-scorers for the Maroon and Grey.
After an outstanding weekend of soccer, McMaster will get a chance to bask in their success before they take on the Western Mustangs on Sunday afternoon.
Although winning big this early in the season brings a good feeling, Coach Perri wants to make sure that they do not get over-confident for the games ahead.
“We have a lot of guys that can step up and fill in the void and I think with the added confidence… hopefully it’s going to be a good thing for us as opposed to the opposite… which could happen.”
The Marauders soccer squad will continue to monitor their added confidence, and hope to keep the winning streak alive, as they set their sights on a third consecutive OUA Championship.