When heading into a tournament as a high seed, there’s immense pressure to succeed. You’re told you’re better and that you’re expected to win.

What happens if you lose? How do you respond? You can give up because of a missed opportunity, or you can do what the McMaster Marauders men’s soccer team did at the CIS championship this week: after losing in the opening game to the host, Laval Rouge et Or, McMaster was stuck in the consolation round. A team with national championship aspirations had their dreams dashed after a hard fought game that ended in a 1-0 defeat.

The team looked to medal at the tournament after winning their second straight OUA title, but the CIS Player of the Year, Samuel Georget found a teammate for a header in the box for the game-winning score.

Despite dominating Laval in the second half, the 1-0 lead would stand and instead of playing for a medal, McMaster was now fighting for a fifth-place finish.

Mac responded well to the loss, coming out to stun the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds in the last 15 minutes of the game. Down one goal and tournament hopes fading, the Marauders rallied to tie the game at the 75th minute. Eleven minutes later, the Maroon and Grey would find twine again and the goal was enough to secure a victory.

With a win over the Varsity Reds, McMaster found themselves fighting an old foe: the Carleton Ravens. Mac ousted the Ravens in the OUA Championship match with an embarrassing rout, 5-0.

Carleton came out with physicality, looking for revenge. Their play earned them three yellow cards. But McMaster responded with toughness as well, fighting for the ball in the middle of the field and earning the only shot of the half.

Mac would score the lone goal of the match in the 57th minute of the game. With the end of Carleton’s season only minutes away, their intensity hit another level as they tried to comeback. Their efforts would not be rewarded as the Marauder defense stood tall, just as they had all season.

With the 1-0 victory, McMaster ended their season on a positive note. Tournament wins and experience is invaluable with the roster Coach Dino Perri is fielding. With Garret McConville the lone fifth-year player on the team, the Marauders have a shot at CIS Championship glory in the coming season.

Mark Reilly and Paterson Farrell were integral to McMaster’s success and will be back next year to lead the team. Reilly led the team in scoring and Farrell was recognized as a second-team All-Canadian CIS player.

The men’s squad will look forward to next season as they set their eyes on their third straight OUA title and a medal at the CIS Championship tournament.

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