Five Marauder teams to watch this year
As we begin the new school year, women's volleyball, men's soccer, wrestling, cross country and men's volleyball are the teams to keep a close eye on
The 2022-2023 year of sports at McMaster University was one to remember. With championship wins, great individual performances and numerous events packed with fans, there is plenty to be proud of. As we look ahead to the upcoming year, here are teams you should be sure to keep your eye on.
The 2022-2023 season for McMaster’s women volleyball team ended prematurely with close loss to York University in the Ontario University Athletics quarterfinals.
Next season, the team will look to turn things around. A number of returning OUA all-star veterans will look to lead the team to greater heights. Notable players include Sullie Sundara, who hopes to continue a run of great form after a second commanding season, and Hayley Brooks, the team’s defensive minded libero.
With newly appointed head coach Nathan Janzen leading the squad, this Marauders team will be one to look out for. Janzen leads the Canadian youth national volleyball team and has previously served as an assistant for the Marauders women’s volleyball team. He will likely have his sights set on capturing a national title, especially with the Marauders hosting this year's U Sports national tournament.
Last season saw the men’s soccer team capture a historic OUA title. After this previous success for the team, they will be looking to continue their impressive form this coming year.
Next year’s roster will miss Miles Green, who led the team in total goals scored, and Ahmad Mansour, the team’s dominant centre-back. However, quality remains in the squad, with key returning players such as Gianluca Spadafora, the team’s captain and OUA second-team all-star, and Ethan Cagalj, an OUA second-team all-star goalkeeper.
Another change to the team’s head coach will be another challenge for the Marauders this season though. Interim head coach Tristan Joyce will be looking to prove himself in the coming season. Joyce is a former Marauder men’s soccer player who graduated from the program in 2021.
Both the men and women’s wrestling teams continually impress and the Marauders consistently found themselves on top of the podium in the 2022-2023 season.
Serena Di Benedetto on the women’s team had a phenomenal first season where she went undefeated, medaled gold in the OUA finals and finished in second at U Sports Nationals. As she goes into her second year, she will be one to watch closely.
On the men’s side, first-year Karanveer Mahil also showed well in his rookie season. Mahil topped the podium numerous times throughout the year and medalled silver in the OUA finals. At U Sports Nationals, Mahil earned himself gold to cap off an impressive first season.
After an impressive regular season for the team, four Marauder wrestlers and head coach Ahmed Shamiya went on to represent Canada at the Pan Am Games. At the event, Mahil and Di Benedetto both earned medals and they will certainly be looking to continue to their successes this coming winter.
This team had plenty to be proud of in the 2022-2023 season. On the men’s side, Max Turek, Andrew Davies and Alex Drover helped in creating a historic year for their team. Turek won gold at both the OUA finals and the U Sports Nationals, with Davies and Drover finishing just behind him in both competitions.
The women’s team came up with impressive results throughout the year as well. Second-year Rosalyn Barrett placed third in OUA Championships and thirtieth at U Sports nationals. Hannah Goodjohn, a fourth-year, placed eleventh in the OUAs after a consistent season for the Marauders.
Head coach Paula Schnurr also earned her own accolade throughout the season by winning OUA coach of the year. As she heads into the new season, she will look to fill the holes left by her graduated runners, including Turek and Davies.
After a dominant past season which saw the team capture the provincial banner, the men’s volleyball team is consistently one of McMaster’s top teams.
Sam Cooper dominated with 47 kills over the last season. His departure to the Polish professional league will leave a hole in the team, one hopefully that a younger player may fill.
Maxime Gratton also dominated the year with 109 kills. He will be looking to improve upon his past season and combine with veteran Peter Rugosi after two years of experience.
Last year’s heartbreaking loss in the U Sports semifinals will have the team hungry for more, with new head coach Brad Douwes looking to fill the gaps and step into the massive shoes left by former head coach Dave Preston.