C/O Travis Nguyen
With about two weeks into the new soccer season, Dusan Kovacevic has already made a name for himself.
It is not uncommon for athletes to progress well throughout a season. Certain players impress both on individual and group levels, but the story of Dusan Kovacevic, a member of the men's varsity soccer team, has impressed at an unprecedented level.
The first game that the Marauders men's soccer team played competitively was against the Algoma Thunderbirds. Expectations were high for the boys, considering the successful history with the Thunderbirds from previous years, so they had to put their complacency aside to ensure a win.
Sure enough, the Marauders swept the Thunderbirds seven to zero at the Ron Joyce stadium on a rainy Saturday. Although the team represented McMaster University welland went above and beyond, Kovacevic was the man on the pitch that stood out. Scoring a whopping four goals throughout the 90 minutes, he was the man of the match. Not only did he score four goals, but Kovacevic managed to get off ten shots, which was by far the largest tally in the game.
Shortly after the first game, the Marauders played the Thunderbirds once again. The Marauders won seven to two, marking another significant and impressive win for McMaster. Once again, the man of the match was Kovacevic, scoring three goals and bagging one assist. There's no doubt that the sharp shooter loves a goal against the Thunderbirds.
“To be honest with you, I only found out because I got tagged in an Instagram photo. At that moment, it was very surreal and it felt amazing . . . To win this award was truly an honour,” said Kovacevic.
When asked about the effect of COVID-19 on his progress, Kovacevic discussed how often he unfortunately had to delay training due to regulations.
“I did have my regular soccer training up until March 2020, but it all went to a standstill from there on. I did have some pick up games here and there with my friends, but it was no match for the actual training we had before the pandemic. I had hopes last year that by the summer of 2020 this will be done and that we will resume the season, but that did not work out either, so I am very happy to finally be back,” explained Kovacevic.
Many new faces have joined the Marauders varsity soccer team, meaning the team’s faring was unpredictable. However, the first five games have gone off to a good start for them; the team has a total of three wins, one draw and only one loss. Out of the 22 goals that McMaster has scored so far this season, Kovaceic accounts for ten of them, making him the top scorer of the central division. Additionally, the Marauders are currently leading the central division with ten points.
Although Kovacevic is very fond of the team’s current success within the league, he said that they have just begun.
“Everything against Algoma and the first game with Laurentian seemed to go our way, but we have just begun. The game against [University of Toronto] was very entertaining and they’re very good opponents. We’ve also got Nipissing and Ryerson to play soon, so it will not be an easy couple of weeks but I am confident that we will do well,” explained Kovacevic
When asked about the team chemistry and his confidence in the squad, Kovacevic was very excited to talk about how much he believes in them.
“I personally think that the squad we currently have is one of the best ones that I’ve been a part of. Although we have many [first- and second-years] coming in due to the COVID gap, they are very talented and fit in with the team well. All of the older ones, including myself, also get along really well and that is why I think that we are going to have a very successful season,” said Kovacevic.
The Marauders’ season is not over yet — far from it. After the regular season, if the Marauders place high enough in their conference table, they’ll play in the play-offs and eventually fight for the OUA title.
You can follow the men’s soccer team games and all statistics here.
By: Coby Zucker
With the departure of veteran outside hitter Brandon Koppers after capping out his eligibility last season, a void was created in the McMaster men’s volleyball team. Starting the season with a blistering 6-1 record, it’s safe to say the Marauders are managing well enough, thanks in part to the dependable play of third-year setter, David Doty.
Recognition was quick to come to Doty, who received the McMaster Pita Pit Athlete of the Week award following his strong early performances against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and the highly-ranked University of Windsor Lancers, both in three-set sweeps.
“It wasn’t really something I was expecting,” said Doty. “I think I was more concerned about coming out of Windsor with a win. Going into someone’s gym when they’re sixth- or fifth-ranked in the country, and you have a chance to take them down in their gym, it kind of takes over your mind over your own personal [performance]. I mean, it was nice to have that recognition and I’m very thankful for it, but I think it’s more concerning myself with coming out of Windsor with a big win.”
As the starting setter for the Marauders, Doty is responsible for leading the offence on the court.
“Coach [Dave Preston] and I, we meet twice a week or so,” Doty said. “We go over how we want to run an offence against a team. We have a pretty good idea of how we like to run our offence. I think we have this idea of, if something’s working, just keep going at it. If something’s not working, we adjust and go from there.”
But even the best-laid plans need to be executed. You can toss up a pass, but someone’s got to smack it down. In the early parts of the season, that someone has been outside hitter, Andrew Richards. Second in Ontario University Athletics in hitting percentage at .374, Richards has been a force to be reckoned with over the team’s first seven games. The chemistry between Doty and Richards is hardly new; the two have been playing together over the past six years, both getting their start at Oakridge Secondary School in London, Ontario.
“Over the years it’s gotten easier and easier connecting with him cause we’ve played together that much,” said Doty. “We kind of just know what each other are doing. And he’s a freak human. He’s able to get up, to jump to balls I don’t expect him to, but you know every time he gets up there, he seems to cut the ball off at the highest point possible.”
Doty was quick in pointing the off-the-court leadership of Richards, along with the team’s other fifth-year, Connor Santoni, who is currently sporting a handlebar moustache, matching Doty’s own. Previously acting as a utility player for the team, Santoni has started to see increased playing time in his final season.
“[Richards] and Santoni, the leaders of this team, the two fifth-year guys, they’ve always done a good job of leading us,” Doty said. “They put their blood, sweat and tears into this program, so we appreciate everything they do.”
And needless to say, that effort has been paying off. Despite Doty’s assertion that the competition this year is fiercer than ever, with most teams in striking distance of one another, the Marauders opened the season with two sweeps. The Queen’s University Gaels were able to put a damper on the early momentum after a tough 2-3 loss.
“Well the first two sets against Queen’s, they played outstanding,” said Doty. “They were passing well, they were digging some balls we weren’t really expecting them to be digging up. And we made too many errors, which is why we lost that game.”
— McMaster Athletics (@McMasterSports) November 25, 2018
That game seemed to only be a slight hitch for the Marauders who have since bounced back with four straight three-set sweeps over the Royal Military College of Canada, Trent University, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Guelph. So far, Doty and the rest of the team have been putting together a run that is shaping up to be a fitting send-off for the team’s two fifth-years.