McMaster’s Thanksgiving weekend was spent on the road this year, traveling the less-than-scenic southern Ontario stretch between London and Windsor.
The women’s soccer team achieved lukewarm results against Western and Windsor. The 5-0 loss to Western is a negative, but the team bounced back to following day to grab a 0-0 draw against fifth-place Windsor.
This weekend’s goal was to not drop any points, but two weekend wins from Guelph means McMaster is battling the Gryphons for fifth place. Brock is tied with McMaster, but the Marauders have the upper hand because they have conceded four fewer goals. Fifth-place Guelph has only 17 goals against, but they have to play Laurier, Western and Windsor – teams who may be keen to run up score lines to improve playoff seeding. The Gryphons would need to lose all their remaining games for Mac to jump ahead in the standings.
With a double-header against the lowly Algoma Thunderbirds, it is fair to pencil in the McMaster squad for a playoff spot. In their first year of OUA conference play, Algoma has 150 goals against in 14 games – an average of 10.7 goals against per game.
Mac will face a tough opponent in the quarterfinals of playoffs, but playing Algoma for the final two games of the season gives the team an opportunity to get some offence going and inject the team with some confidence in the final third of the pitch. The Marauders have only scored nine goals all season, second-last to Algoma. Granted, all other teams have had the opportunity to beat up on the Thunderbirds and inflate their goal totals.
A fifth-place finish has incredible value because of the top-table strength in the OUA West. York, Western and Laurier are all top-ten ranked teams and one of those teams will finish in third place. Right now, Laurier sits third but they only two points separate them from first place.
As the regular season wraps up, McMaster will have their eyes on the scoreboards from around the league as their playoff fate won’t be decided by their own play alone.