C/O Yoohyun Park, Multimedia Coordinator

These are the McMaster sports teams to watch this year

In the 2021-2022 season, there was plenty to be proud of in the world of McMaster University sports. Between the school's 11 U Sports clubs and the 16 Ontario University Athletics teams, there was always something going on. Now heading into the 2022-2023 season, here are the teams you should have your eye on.  

Honorable mentions 

The women’s volleyball team may not have finished the year on the podium, but they certainly had a promising year. The team is centered around star Sullie Sundara, the 2021-2022 rookie of the year award winner, first team all-star and U21 team Canada member, as well as fellow first team all-star Jessie Nairn and second team all-star Ellie Hatashita. The team finished second in the West, having won eight and lost four in the regular season before being upset by the Western Mustangs in the quarter final. Going forward, the team has a very young core, only having lost a couple players heading into the season. With their last OUA championship having been only five seasons ago, and their last finals appearance only four seasons ago, they have a chance to make it back and do some real damage this season.  

The 2021-2022 men’s baseball team was one for the history books. Despite what the team has been through, they managed to bring home an OUA silver. Outfielder Nik Motruk also won the most valuable player award, while Joshua Kalmin took home rookie of the year honors. It was a huge year for the team and one would feel safe in assuming the club would find themselves in the power rankings the following season. However, many key graduating members have kept the team in the honorable mentions. Back-to-back MVP winner Motruk and former Cy Young winner (awarded to the league’s best pitcher) Julian Tymochko as well as a couple other notable contributors have completed their time at McMaster. The baseball team faces an uphill climb as they look to return to the OUA playoffs in their upcoming season.  

5. Men’s Wrestling 

The men’s wrestling team went a long way in 2021-2022, finding their way into the five spot in this season's power rankings. Over the past year there were two major tournaments for the team, the Brock Open and the OUA Championship. At Brock the men’s team managed to pull away with a first place finish, as Francesco Fortino, Trystan Kato, Luken Lawson and Sarpartap Lally all won the gold in their respective weight classes. Five other members of the team also found themselves on the podium with silver or bronze. 

Shortly after the Brock Open, McMaster as a team finished second in the province at the OUA Championship. Peter Shirley, Trystan Kato and Francesco Fortino took home gold medals, while the team also earned two silvers and no bronze finishes. Shirley would finish the season as OUA’s outstanding male wrestler of the year.  

All members of the team are expected to return for the 2022-2023 season.  

4. Men’s Basketball 

Following a loaded year for the team, the men’s basketball team just fell short after losing a close matchup to the eventual OUA champion Brock Badgers in the semi-finals. The team saw a blazing hot start leading into the winter break, winning all six of their matchups. Following their return to play in January, they started to slow down, in part due to more difficult competition. The team still finished with a strong 11 wins and five losses. They were the only team — regular season and playoffs — to defeat the Badgers all year.  

The team, led by former Maine Red Claws assistant coach Patrick Tatham, is full of explosive young talent. In 2021-2022 they only had one player, Luka Mircetic, in his fourth year of eligibility (or later), creating a path for sustainable success. With Jordan Henry (first team all-star), Mike Demagus (second team all-star), Culley Bremner (all-rookie team) and co returning this season, the continued chemistry between the already strong ball club could go a long way.  

3. Men’s Soccer 

The 2021-2022 season was a strong, but underwhelming one for McMaster men’s soccer team. After finishing second in the central division with an overall record of 6-2-2, the Marauders fell in their first round quarterfinal matchup against the defending champion and nationally third ranked, Carleton Ravens. The team was expected to go much further, but ultimately fell victim to an unfortunate early round matchup, facing arguably the most difficult team possible.  

Despite the early playoff exit, the team showed promise. Dusan Kovacevic and Al-Shakman were named to the All-Canadian team, while Al-Shakman was also selected to the all-rookie team, and named OUA Central rookie of the year.  

Heading into the upcoming season, it is a team still rich with talent. The biggest challenge for the club will be overcoming a coaching change, following the departure of longtime McMaster head coach Dino Perri, who spent the last 14 years with the team. He won three OUA titles and qualified for five national championships, which included a silver medal run in 2014. The Hamilton Soccer Hall of Fame member will be succeeded by assistant coach Chris Markou, who will take on an interim role.  

2. Women’s Basketball 

The women’s basketball team has to be one of the most exciting young teams McMaster has to offer. In a 2021-2022 season that was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the team finished with a winning record of nine wins and six losses, locking themselves into a playoff spot. Their season would end in a close 49-45 loss to the Brock Badgers in the quarterfinal.  

McMaster’s basketball teams commonly credit their success to a strong culture. Along with 28 year veteran coach and three time coach of the year award winner Therese Burnes, the entire roster from the 2021-2022 season is expected to return. The team, led by Sarah Gates and Mia Spadafora — both members of the Marauders 2019 national championship team — has a great opportunity to continue their upward trajectory on a path of improvement through a greater sense of familiarity and on-court chemistry. There could be much more than just a playoff berth to remember the 2022-2023 season by. 

1. Men’s Volleyball 

There is no team more clear cut for the number one spot than the Marauders men’s volleyball team. Since the 2007-2008 season, McMaster has won the provincial title in a staggering 10 of 14 playoff runs, the most recent being the 2021-2022 season in their return to the court.  

The Marauders shined bright all season long, sweeping their way to the OUA championships by winning all 15 games they played. Ranked as the third best team in Canada, they continued through to the national championship, where they placed fifth. Individually, the team was loaded with accolades. Dave Preston took home the coach of the year award, Robbie Fujisawa and Maxime Gratton were named to the all-rookie team while Gratton won the rookie of the year, Wojtek Kraj and Mateusz Wlodarski made the second team all-star and team captain Jordan Pereira and Sam Cooper were named to the first team all-star.  

Pereira is the only graduating member of the team, with everyone else slated to return to the court, so the Marauders have an incredibly bright future ahead as they continue to dominate the volleyball world.  

C/O The Silhouette Archives

This is the year to tune into the variety of varsity sports McMaster offers

The 2020-2021 school year was a frustrating year, with no varsity or intramural sports happening on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the 2021-2022 season offered a full variety of sports opportunities and activities students could get involved in, there were still a handful of disruptions, including the January lockdown that prohibited OUA competitions from continuing as planned.  

This upcoming season provides a sense of hope and continuity for sports enthusiasts and novices alike. There are many reasons to watch the sports the university has to offer and below are our top five reasons for why you should get involved this upcoming school year. 

1. Everything is open!  

As it stands in July 2022, all the facilities on campus will be open to pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, students will not be required to sign up to access any on-campus facilities. Finally, the COVID-19 screening tool used in the 2021-2022 season, MacCheck, will no longer be required for students or student athletes wishing to get involved in any sports activities on campus.   

2. More athletes involved in national teams  

As the new season approaches, there are more opportunities for student athletes to be involved with junior and senior national team call ups. Although last season had its fair share of athletes being called up to the national teams, this season is promising comparable results.   

Although we are still two months away from commencement, Canadian U-21 women’s volleyball team included Marauder Sullie Sundara for the team at the upcoming U21 Pan American Cup in Mexico. Meanwhile from the men’s team, Sam Cooper was named to the Canadian senior national team. Finally, from the wrestling team, Serena Di Bennedetto qualified for the Canadian junior national team. 

3. More fixtures added to the teams’ schedule  

While the teams were allowed to play last season due to the timing of the pandemic waves their fixtures were somewhat limited. For example, if a team typically had 15 fixtures in the regular season, they were cut down to 10.   

From the schedules released thus far, there have been more matches added to the upcoming OUA season. For example, both the men’s’ and women’s’ soccer teams have seen an increase in their schedule from 10 games last season to 12 for this year's regular season

4. Greater focus on 2SLGBTQIA+ in sports 

Over the past season, the Athletics and Recreation Department at McMaster University has organized numerous events students and athletes alike could get involved in. Events like this are key for connecting with the wider McMaster community. Many events have been tailored towards supporting and recognizing particularly communities, including the 2SLGBTQIA+ community on campus.   

An event that shed light on this community last season was the Pride Game taking place at McMaster men's and women’s basketball game against the Waterloo Warriors. The goal of the game was to highlight and increase the visibility of 2SLGBTQIA+ student-athletes. Although not confirmed as of July 2022, the event among others to shed light on the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are likely to held again.   

5. More racial equality implementation  

Over the past couple of years, McMaster has been grilled for consistently letting down their athletes. There were numerous allegations regarding the mistreatment of the athletes representing the school, including the prioritization of white athletes while not responding to Black students for varsity meetings.   

This year McMaster put effort into combatting these allegations and has taken action. In late June 2022, the Athletics and Recreation Department hosted multiple peers at their inaugural anti-racism symposium. The goal of this event was to further the conversation within the OUA and OCAA about creating actual changes in athletics and recreation departments at the post-secondary level. Although this one event doesn't signify a complete change in the community’s stance towards racism, it certainly is a step in the right direction and shows a glimpse of hope for the future of McMaster athletes.   

C/O Barry Gray, Hamilton Spectator

Men’s volleyball team wins their 12th straight and is heading to the playoffs with their hearts set on the gold

It’s official: Mar. 5 2021 has become a day to remember for the men’s volleyball team at McMaster. It became the day that they would finish their season with a perfect record after winning all 12 games this past season.  

Historically speaking, men’s volleyball has long been a strong player in McMaster sports, having amassed a combined record of 203-25 over the last decade. In that span on the national floor they accumulated two silver medals and four bronze medals. This accompanies the six consecutive provincial titles they won from 2012-2017. 

Despite incredibly strong performances season after season, this might be their best shot yet at McMaster’s first national title since U Sports volleyball began awarding medals in 1967. Undefeated seasons are no easy feat.  

Going into the final regular season game, there was a lot of stress for players and fans. They were taking on the Windsor Lancers, a team that they had swept earlier in the season. Early in the game the Marauders struggled, losing the first set and just scraping together a win in the second. Tensions were high, but they were ultimately able to separate themselves in the second half.  

“We were pretty confident that if we put our best product out there on the floor that we’d take the win. We had a bit of a slow start . . . We felt that maybe we were a little too confident going into that matchup. They got the better of us, but we responded well and put that product out there by the end of the match,” said Sam Cooper, McMaster’s game leader in Kills-Aces-Blocks.  

"We felt that maybe we were a little too confident going into that matchup. They got the better of us, but we responded well and put that product out there by the end of the match."

Sam Cooper, Men's Volleyball Team

The final two sets came much easier for the Marauders, who won by scores of 25-20 and 25-14, cementing their legacy with a perfect record.  

“It was a cool moment to see what we had accomplished . . . In our last game losing that one set was probably a good thing for us,” explained Cooper. 

Cooper largely credited the success seen by the team this season to a sense of closeness within the young group. Having only a few graduating members on the team, it came as a surprise to many to see such a wonderful performance. However, members of the team itself may have been motivated by being perceived by others as green players.  

“I really feel a sense of cohesion on our team with all the guys. The biggest difference [from past McMaster teams] is probably our age. We’re a pretty young team with only one graduating senior on the floor . . . Lots of guys are getting their first shot to play here and that lends a kind of excitement to our game. That’s allowing us to play older than we are and achieve some of those same things that teams older than us have done in the past,” explained Cooper. 

In their first playoff game of the season the Marauders will take on none other than the team they closed out their perfect record with — the Windsor Lancers — on Mar. 12 at home. McMaster is the clear favourite in the matchup after having been rated second in the country by U Sports.  

“Overall we’re not necessarily happy with the number two position, but we understand that there's lots of things that go into making that number happen . . . Trinity Western is in that number one position. I think we’re in good company there. We have a healthy respect for them. I think the rankings show that we’re pretty close. We’re right at their heels,” said Cooper.  

In the playoffs the team is dead set on the gold. They feel confident that they are the best team in Ontario University Athletics and have a serious chance to do damage on the national level, should they make their way through this provincial round of playoffs.  

“Our goal is to secure the OUA final — the OUA gold. That’s the number one goal . . . The mentality going into it is that it’s a new season. The teams that we’re going to play, even though we’ve played them in the past, we’re expecting that they’re going to elevate their game and we’re going to need to be prepared for that and be the more prepared team,” explained Cooper.  

“Our goal is to secure the OUA final — the OUA gold. That’s the number one goal."

Sam Cooper, Men's Volleyball Team

All eyes will be on the team heading into the playoffs as they make a push for their first provincial title since the 2017-2018 season. This is a team that has what it takes to make a push for nationals so they’ll be a great team to follow over the next few weeks.

During the pandemic, athletes never stopped training, so the recruiting process had to adjust to a new normal amid the restricitions

Graphic by Esra Rakab, production Coordinator

Throughout the pandemic, many students had to go through many new experiences in their everyday school life, from remote learning to digital club experiences and much more. Above all else, student-athletes have possibly seen the most change in their school lives, as not only was their regular season cancelled, but their practices had to become something completely new to make sure they continued training and got better.

One of the biggest adjustments that new athletes have seen during the pandemic is the altered recruitment process. In typical years, coaches would have meetings with potential recruits, show them the campus, have them join the team for practice and whatever else they feel is necessary to help improve their odds of landing more talent.

However, this year, the recruitment process bore no resemblance to the past.

However, this year, the recruitment process bore no resemblance to the past.

Matthew Rugosi — a new commit to the McMaster men’s volleyball team — discussed the process that he experienced and some major differences from what he originally expected.

“It was definitely different than what I was expecting . . . My brother went through the same recruitment process [years earlier] and he got to visit the McMaster campus and talk to the coach and practice with the team,” said Rugosi.

As Rugosi discussed the experiences and interactions he had and the recruitment process he was put through, the student-athlete expressed that he originally expected a campus tour with the head coach and an opportunity to practice with the team — but unfortunately received none of the above.

“I had to figure it out on my own and see how I like the campus. Before COVID, I was talking to [head coach] Dave Preston and he had me come to one of the games so I could see the game live. That was probably the most interaction I got in person with them,” explained Rugosi.

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Rugosi missed out on many typical aspects of the recruitment process. For many athletes, it is a once-in-a-lifetime event to be recruited by university teams. To miss out on all the enjoyable parts of the process is devastating. From understanding what a typical practice looks like, to exploring the campus and figuring out the general vibe that a school holds, all these aspects play a big role in the recruitment of an athlete.

Rugosi was fortunate to have some level of familiarity with the team given that he had an older brother who was rostered, but even then the interactions he had were limited, forcing him a difficult time selecting a school. For Rugosi, it came down to head coach Preston.

Rugosi remarks that Preston being a main factor on why he chose McMaster was because he really cares about his players and appreciated his coaching style.

 “Another reason why I chose McMaster is because Dave Preston went out of the box and wished me a happy birthday, which none of the other coaches did. I thought that was something really cool and unique,” said Rugosi.

 “Another reason why I chose McMaster is because Dave Preston went out of the box and wished me a happy birthday, which none of the other coaches did. I thought that was something really cool and unique."

Matthew Rugosi

In a year with limited interactions, anything personable can go a long way, and clearly, in this instance, it made a big difference. Recruitment processes are very different than ever before, so every move is vital for schools in their efforts to get the best talent on their team rosters.

Photo C/O Noah Hoffman

The night of April 2 was the 95th Annual McMaster Athletic Awards Ceremony to celebrate Marauder excellence. The ceremony celebrated McMaster athletes and staff contributions on and off the court over the past year.

The highest honour, the McMaster Athletes of the Year, was awarded to Max Turek (Ivor Wynne Award) of the cross country team, and Linnaea Harper (Therese Quigley Award) of the women’s basketball team. Both led their team to Ontario University Athletics titles, and Harper went one step further, helping bring home the U Sports title for her team.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvxZ6ElAhq6/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Graduating seniors Hilary Hanaka, starting guard of the women’s basketball team, and Andrew Richards, men's volleyball’s starting left side, took home the outstanding graduating student-athlete awards, the Dr. Edna Guest and Dr. Ray Johnson Awards, respectively.

Both athletes have displayed outstanding on- and off-court excellence. Richards and Hanaka had already been recognized by U Sports for their community work this season, so it was only fitting that they took home this honour as well.

McMaster's Rookies of the Year award the Mel and Marilyn Hawkrigg Award, was given to lacrosse player Mitch Pellarin and wrestler Ligaya Stinellis. Stinellis captured a silver medal in the 48kg weight class in her first trip to the OUA Championships, and made McMaster history by becoming the first Marauder woman to win the conference’s Rookie of the Year award.

Pellarin ended the season as McMaster’s leading scorer with 19 goals and 11 assists, which was the highest scoring total among rookies in the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association.

Claudia Continenza, of the women’s soccer team, took home the Les Prince Award for her community service work, and women's hockey president and student therapist Laura Gelowitz won the Bruce Cochrane award for her service to the Athletics Department.

The Joyce Wignall Award, given to a team in recognition of their charitable contributions as a group, was given to the McMaster men’s rugby team for their various charitable efforts throughout the year.

Last night #MarauderNation gathered to celebrate a fantastic year full of great accomplishments by our student-athletes, both on and off the field. Here’s a recap of how the night went down! Thanks to all that attended! 🎉
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.#GoMacGo pic.twitter.com/z8JfEMFShd

— McMaster Marauders (@McMasterSports) April 3, 2019

The night of celebrating excellence was capped off by awarding 51 team MVPs from McMaster's sport teams at the varsity and club level, student-athletes who have competed for four seasons while maintaining good academic standing and coaches who have reached benchmarks in their years of service.

All in all, whether athletes had their their season cut short, or managed to come out on top as provincial or national champions, the annual Awards Ceremony once again rightfully honoured the hard work put in by all the various members of the Marauders athletic community over the past year.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Graham West

Returning to the U Sports National Championships, the McMaster men’s volleyball team suffered a tough loss against the second-seeded Trinity Western University Spartans in the opening round; a familiar foe ending the Marauders’ hopes at winning another national medal following last year’s bronze.

This sent the team to the consolation semifinals where they took a heartbreaking loss in a rematch of the provincial finals against the Queen’s University Gaels. Even though the outcome of the tournament did not go the Marauders’ way, they still gave it their all to finish off the season.

Going into their first game, the team knew it would be a tough road getting past Trinity Western as they’ve played before in the national tournament. The Marauders, following their Ontario University Athletics silver medal, was given a disadvantaged position as the seventh seed in the tournament, setting them up to face No. 2 Trinity.

Mac was well aware of this possibly-discouraging matchup but tried to use the familiarity with their opponent to their advantage.

“They’re obviously a very good team and they’ve had some serious success in the past,” starting outside hitter Andrew Richards said. “We’re going into this the underdogs and we’re going to take that mindset and use it to our advantage. For us we have nothing to lose and we’re just going to give it all we have.”

Ultimately this was not enough to give the maroon and grey the win, losing 3-1 to their British Columbian foes. Despite the early exit from the tournament, the week did feature a bright spot.

🏐🚹 @McMasterSports head coach Dave Preston reacts to his team loss against the @TWUSpartans // L’entraîneur de McMaster Dave Preston réagit à la défaite des siens contre Trinity Western #ChampSZN pic.twitter.com/XTwrJRexhq

— U SPORTS Volleyball (@USPORTS_VBall) March 16, 2019

Over the weekend, Richards was awarded All-Canadian Second Team honours for his contributions to the Marauders’ success on the court this year, placing in the top 10 in Canada in aces per set (0.51) while leading his team with 185 kills over the season.

Richards was also awarded the Dale Iwanoczko Award for being an outstanding student-athlete and demonstrating excellence off the court. Richards is the first Marauder to win the award since its inaugural year in 1994.

“It’s a good way to end my five-year journey at university,” Richards said. “It’s an individual award, but I really can’t take all the credit for it.”

“I’ve had some amazing mentors and leaders in my life that have always challenged me to do that, so without them I really would have never been recognized for something like this.” Richards added.

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Richards’ mindset going into nationals was the same one which has made him such a great player in the first place: a mindset predicated on fierce competitiveness, mutual respect from his teammates and a genuine love of the game. This was Richards’ last chance at competing for a national championship and he took the opportunity just like he takes all of his games.

“I was talking to one of my coaches today, and he wanted me to sit down and think about once I’m done from Mac, in a couple of years, how do I want to think back and remember these last couple of days,” Richards said. “For me, I want to look back and know that I enjoyed my last matches and competed hard and that I was a good teammate and regardless of the outcome.”

This year marks the last year Richards will be wearing maroon for the men's volleyball team as his years of eligibility run out. While the team’s finish at nationals may not have been ideal, they still left their all on the court. Richards, and the teams he has been a part of, have left behind a tremendous legacy of numerous records, medals and trophies, and is one that will surely not be forgotten.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

After falling to the Queen’s University Gaels for the Ontario University Athletics Forsyth Cup, the McMaster men’s volleyball team are headed to the U Sports Men’s Volleyball Championships, but not exactly where they would like to be.

For the first time in seven years, the Marauders are heading to nationals, not as OUA champions. Although surely grateful that they still get to compete at the national level, the disappointment is still there. After a change in OUA men’s volleyball structure, the men’s team had to play their final game on the Gaels’ home court, despite being the number one seed.

The close matchup saw the Marauders and Gaels play five sets. After ending the first set 19-25, the Marauders bounced back strong, winning the second and third set 25-19 and 25-23, respectively. Unfortunately, the Gaels were in the comfort of their own home and were able to outscore the Marauders in both the fourth and fifth set, 16-25 and 13-15.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu1vUPwhaJ8/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

This result landed the Marauders ranked seventh place going into nationals in Quebec City this weekend. Not only is this McMaster's lowest seed at the national tournament since Mac hosted in 2007, but their first opponents are also their longtime rivals, British Columbia’s Trinity Western University Spartans.

The number two seeded team has faced Mac several times in the national playoffs, and for the last four years, they have outplayed Mac. For First Team All-Star left side Andrew Richards, this is the last Canadian university volleyball championships he will ever play in. So hopefully the Marauders will be able to shake the curse and come out victorious against the Spartans.

First serve is scheduled for this Friday at 6:00 p.m.

 

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Photos by Kyle West

By: Coby Zucker

Coming into the Ontario University Athletics playoffs as the fourth-ranked team in Canada puts a target on your back. Add to that a record-breaking six-year stretch where McMaster has taken home the Forsyth Cup for first place in the OUA playoffs, and you now know which team is the one to beat.

And yet, pressure is nothing new for head coach Dave Preston who has been leading the team since 2002.

“The way our program and the way I deal with [pressure] is that I don't think that there's anybody outside of our team room that expects more out of our program than us,” said coach Preston. “So I think when teams start to feel pressure, it's because the external expectations become greater than what the internal expectations can handle. There isn't anybody who expects more out of us than us. So pressure is not an issue.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuhnYDDhlGH/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Playing on such a decorated team, it is safe to assume the Marauders have lofty expectations for themselves with none loftier than those of fifth-year hitter Andrew Richards, who will be playing in his fifth and final OUA playoffs this season. Richards welcomes the competition and the opportunity to leave it all on the floor.

“I definitely know teams want to beat us with our history of having the success that we've had in Ontario,” said Richards. “I'm sure it would be a sweet feeling for someone to try and knock us off but that motivates us even more to know that any time we play a team they're going to bring the best they have and they're going to be motivated to take us down. So it's something that we welcome almost. We want other teams to play their best, which in turn will make us play our best.”

One game into their playoff run, the Marauders’ opponents’ bests have not been good enough. The York University Lions certainly looked motivated this past Saturday coming into Burridge Gym taking the first set 25-27, but their momentum was quickly stifled.

The Marauders proceeded to take the next three sets (25-23, 25-15, 25-19) in a mirror of their last meeting with the Lions in the regular season. Next, it is onto Kingston to face the University of Windsor Lancers for the semi-finals on March 8.

♂️🏐 | RECAP

@MACMVB edged a tight second set and powered on from there, beating York in four sets to advance to the @ouasport Final Four for the ninth straight year. #GoMacGo

READ ⬇️https://t.co/20sI8BdneC

— McMaster Marauders (@McMasterSports) March 3, 2019

For the first time in seven years, McMaster will not be hosting the OUA Final Four due to formatting changes that no longer guarantee home court for the overall highest-seeded team. Continuing their seven-year streak will potentially require they face off in the finals against the Queen’s University Gaels, the only team against whom the Marauders have a losing record in the regular season, in Queen’s own gym.

“We've kind of adapted to this road warrior mentality where we'll go into anyone's gym and do our thing,” said Richards. “We sort of feel comfort in the sense of being uncomfortable, if that make sense? We want to sleep in hotels, we want to play in different gyms, we want to be in front of other fans. It's just the kind of identity our team's going to take on here in the playoffs.”

 

It remains to be seen how the Marauders will adapt to this wrinkle in their era of dominance. They certainly still have all the tools they need to succeed, including seasoned players, a veteran coach and an all-star-calibre player in Richards who, along with fellow fifth-years Connor Santoni and Jeffrey Driediger, is looking to put his final stamp on a McMaster legacy. The Marauders themselves are not lacking in confidence.

“I love the way our guys are playing right now,” said coach Preston. “I love our style. I think we probably have another level or two left in us to play at. But the way our guys play? The style we play? The passion that we play with? It's everything a coach could ask for.”

Competition remains tough as the Marauders head into their final weekend of the OUA post-season, with the Lancers, the Gaels and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues all looking to displace the reigning champions. It all goes down March 8 and 9 in Kingston.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

Men’s Volleyball - Forsyth Cup Playoffs

The McMaster men’s volleyball team is heading to the Ontario University Athletics volleyball semifinals for the 15th-straight season. After defeating the York University Lions 3-1 in the OUA quarter-finals, the Marauders are heading into the Final Four ranked fifth in the nation.

Several Marauders were also honoured with OUA recognition, with outside hitter Matt Passalent taking home the highest honour, OUA West Player of the Year. Fifth-year Andrew Richards took home the Dale Iwanoczko Award for his work off the court. Passalent and Richards were both named First Team All-Stars, while Craig Ireland was named to the Second Team. First-year middle Tyler Pavelic’s season was recognized with a spot on the All-Rookie team.

With six straight OUA titles, the journey to their seventh begins this weekend when the Marauders face the University of Windsor Lancers in a semi-final match-up. If they win, they will go on to play in the final game for the OUA Forsyth Cup. The game will be on Saturday, March 9 at 1 p.m. at Queen’s University.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Buo_HlthWVd/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

Women’s Basketball - U Sports Final Eight

After defeating the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees in the OUA finals to capture the Critelli Cup, the Marauders are heading to Ryerson University to play in the U Sports National Championships for the second-straight season. With the No. 2 seed in the tournament, the Marauders will face the No. 7 Concordia University Stingers.

Led by Critelli Cup game MVP Hilary Hanaka, the Marauders hope to see a different result in this year's National Championships compared to last year. The ladies headed out to Regina last year where they unfortunately did not finish where they wanted to. Losing in the first round to McGill University, the Marauders were not prepared for the level of play, but are hoping to see different results this time around.

Already defeating the Carleton University Ravens during the 2019 OUA semi-finals, who were also the 2018 U Sports Champions, the idea of going straight to the top does not seem so far off. Tip-off time is at 12 p.m. Thursday, March 7.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bujafa4hYPe/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

 

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Photo by Kyle West

Both the men's volleyball team and women's basketball team took the weekend by storm with two victories each, while the men's basketball and women's volleyball teams won one out of their two games. Here are the stars of the weekend.

Sarah Gates

The second-year is no stranger to the Pita Pit Athlete of the Week award, most recently winning the weekend honour on Nov. 15, 2018, when she scored a career-high of 24 points. This weekend, she poured in 19 points for the Marauders in both of the team’s wins. Gates who was called to the 2018 Ontario University Athletics All-Rookie team, shot 50 per cent from the field and 40 per cent from the three, as well as collecting four rebounds in the win over Wilfrid Laurier University. Against the University of Guelph, she hit three of eight shots from three, and gave the team four steals and four rebounds.

 

Right side @MattColeP from @MACMVB and @macwbball guard Sarah Gates are the @PitaPitCanada Athletes of the Week. @mcmasteru #GoMacGo

READ ⬇️https://t.co/u7nAO5cvSh

— McMaster Marauders (@McMasterSports) January 14, 2019

 

Matt Passalent

After sitting out due to injury, Passalent hit the court for the first time of the regular season and did not miss a beat, being recognized as the Pita Pit Athlete of the Week for his efforts. Facing two U Sports top-10 opponents this weekend, the Marauders took home two victories and Passalent was a big part of both. The fourth-year had 10 kills, two aces and a block assist for 12.5 points Saturday against University of Windsor, and 15 kills and 18.5 points against Western University, which bumped them up to #4 in the national rankings.

 

There are 4️⃣ @mcmasteru teams ranked in this week's @usportsca Top 10s, with @MACMVB and men's wrestling both moving up two spots!

♂️🏐⬆️4️⃣
♀️🏀↔️4️⃣
🤼‍♂️⬆️6️⃣
🤼‍♀️↔️9️⃣#GoMacGo pic.twitter.com/qqPgOWV8jK

— McMaster Marauders (@McMasterSports) January 15, 2019

 

David McCulloch

In the Marauders’ second victory of the New Year, coming against the Guelph Gryphons, McCulloch contributed 23 points shooting 64 per cent from the field. The 97-80 road win seemed like just the fire the Marauders needed to bring it home and win again. Unfortunately, the Laurier Golden Hawks had other plans. Despite the fifth-year guard being the second highest leading scorer of the game with 15 points, the Golden Hawks came for revenge and defeated the Marauders 87-73 at home.

 

Jessie Narin

Narin led the Marauders offensively in both games against Windsor and Western this weekend. With 17 kills and 23 points, including five aces and a solo block, she helped Mac defeat Western on Saturday night in the fifth set. Narin, a right side, also led offensively the night before in the loss to Windsor, with 14 kills, three aces and a block assist for a team- and match-high 17.5 points.

This weekend McMaster basketball will face the Lakehead University Timberwolves in back-to-back home games this weekend, with the women playing at 6:00 p.m. and the men at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Both volleyball teams will then take over Burridge on Sunday, as the women and men host the Brock University Badgers this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. respectively.

 

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