McMaster women's soccer season ended on a high as the men's team continues through to the OUA finals
The regular season for both McMaster University’s women’s and men’s teams came to a successful close earlier this month. Both teams have earned themselves a playoff spot, with the women’s team finishing fourth and the men’s team finishing second in their respective divisions.
In their first round matchup the women took on the Brock Badgers. After failing to reach the playoffs in the season prior, the team was looking to make greater strides this time around.
On Wednesday night, the Marauders did just that. Within just 30 seconds, Bryanna Caldwell found the back of the net. The top goal scorer made good on a corner sent in from Ignacia Jimenez.
With the wind in her sails and a loud home crowd spurring the team on, Caldwell managed to score an almost identical goal. Another corner by Jimenez found the head of Caldwell, making the score two to zero.
“Ignacia puts the ball in the box and I know where it's going to land every time. It’s a connection only we have. Practice makes perfect,” says Caldwell.
The Badgers managed to put one in, but McMaster responded with a goal of their own by Tiam Pourbakhtiari. Brock put in one more goal just before the end of the game, bringing the game to a final score of three to two.
The women’s team went on to the quarterfinals to take on the Western Mustangs. In a disappointing game though, the team lost five to zero, effectively ending their playoff run.
While the team did not advance further, they are still looking to grow in the seasons to come. Having made it further than they had last year, it seems their game can only improve.
“With every season and game we’ve played, we’ve improved. This series of games is just a step in our path in growing as a team.” says Caldwell.
As the men’s team finished in second place, they were given a bye week. Resultantly, the bye week automatically placed the team in a quarterfinal spot, where they would take on the Guelph Gryphons.
The last time these teams met, the Marauders lost by two goals. This time however, the advantage was to the Marauders as Guelph was not awarded a bye week. The Gryphons took on the Brock Badgers just three days prior in a game that took the teams to double overtime and penalty kicks.
The Marauders won two to one against the Gryphons. Goals by Amir Shirazi and Miles Green brought the team over the Gryphons and into the OUA semi finals.
Facing the Nipissing Lakers in the semi final round, the two teams met on a very foggy night at Ron Joyce Stadium. It was the furthest most members on the team had ever gotten, so the feeling of anxiety was high for many in what turned out to be a really slow start.
“Many of us have not been in this position before, so maybe the nerves got to us,” explained Bryan Florent.
This was apparent as the game at half was tied with neither team having scored. Fortunately, the Marauders turned this around, coming out of the break on a game changing streak.
“The first half was very much a stalemate with attacks coming from both sides. In the second half, we had a change in mentality. We realized there's a difference between playing fast and playing rushed. We played rushed, which didn’t allow us to create opportunities,” said Florent.
The team came out with a resounding win, with Green putting away two with assists from Sean Ross and Shirazi and Ed Bryan Florent putting away one on the assist from Justin Baker. This win qualified the team for Nationals and secured them a spot in the OUA Finals. They will now take on Toronto Metropolitan University in a challenge for the OUA Championship on Nov. 5.
It’s been an astonishing season on both sides, with head coach Miranda Wiley and rookie head coach Chris Markou leading their teams to new levels. With the roads paved by the current teams, the future of McMaster soccer looks bright.
Travis Nguyen/Photo Editor
Ron Joyce Stadium stacks up well against other universities’ stadiums
University stadiums serve to host sporting events and support university athletics. However, they also become a signature of a given school. A stadium’s structure comes to represent a student community’s pride in their school.
How good is our own stadium — the Ron Joyce Stadium — in comparison to the other university stadiums in the Ontario University Athletics? According to 13thmansports, our stadium ranks fourth! That’s right, the 14-year-old fortress ranks above the stadiums of institutions such Guelph, Waterloo and even York. Ron Joyce had fallen just short of the top three, which are currently occupied by Queens, Western and Toronto.
The reason that Ron Joyce Stadium ranks so highly is its running track, which is not something that every stadium has. This would in turn provide the audience with more intimate action on the field, which just improves the overall atmosphere for Marauders’ big games. Additionally, the colour scheme that the stadium possesses really does lend it a unique look. It truly shows off McMaster’s maroon colours.
Although many have not been to McMaster’s beloved stadium, its overall structure and aesthetics may intrigue students into visiting more often. After all, it’s already been recognized by the wider sports community!