A fiery start for the McMaster men's volleyball team yields their fourth consecutive win

The McMaster University men’s volleyball team continues to impress. The reigning provincial champions and U Sports national contenders finished strong against the Waterloo Warriors for a perfect record of four wins and zero losses on Nov. 12.  

The early season success comes with little surprise considering McMaster’s perfect regular season record the year prior and an experienced core unit with returning players such as outside hitter, Sam Cooper, and middle, Tyler Pavelic. Both players came up big in McMaster’s most recent four-set victory over the Warriors. 

The Marauders swiftly won the first set by a score of 25-20. However, the team lost their initial momentum early into the second set. Despite fighting back from a McMaster time-out, the red and grey team lost the set 23-25. 

“I think we started off strong, we were doing everything we said we were going to do. Second set, they came out firing and I think we let off a little bit. Right there, it was clear we had to switch it up,” said Pavelic. 

With McMaster landing fewer defensive blocks than usual and a crafty Warriors offence, the team sought to make some changes. The Marauders were able to adapt with a few in-game adjustments and finished with a strong second half

“After that set, I think we just picked [the energy] up, we just communicated more about what we needed to do before the whistle even blew. At that point, we were able to build some more momentum into that set,” explained Cooper. 

"After that set, I think we just picked [the energy] up, we just communicated more about what we needed to do before the whistle even blew. At that point, we were able to build some more momentum into that set,"

Sam Cooper, Outside Hitter

McMaster won the third set by a large margin of 25-16 and ran with the momentum to a final set score of 25-18 for an emphatic finish. Cooper led the team’s offensive effort with 13 total kills or unreturned attacks. Pavelic finished with four defensive blocks and six offensive kills. Returning players, Maxime Gratton and Mateusz Wlodarski, also came up big on the offensive end. 

Despite the perfect record thus far, the McMaster team remains level-headed. The team still has a long season ahead of them with 18 scheduled games, including two exhibition games against Long Beach State University

“We’re trying to stay realistic. We’re obviously happy about our wins and that’s what we’re looking to do – win as much, secure as much home court advantage as possible – but also trying to keep the balance of not getting too cocky so we’re ready for any opponent. We prepare the exact same for every opponent that we take on,” said Cooper. 

McMaster continues to level up their defensive and offensive strategies with a focus on high-ball attacking, service pressure, service reception, small-ball defence and block defence. With most of their games taking place over the weekend, the team can regroup and identify areas of improvement during the week. 

“It’s definitely a good feeling to go undefeated so far. I think we just got to keep learning from our mistakes, what’s not going well and kind of fix it throughout the week and be able to execute it on the weekends so we can come out and continue on that pace run,” explained Pavelic. 

“It’s definitely a good feeling to go undefeated so far. I think we just got to keep learning from our mistakes, what’s not going well and kind of fix it throughout the week and be able to execute it on the weekends so we can come out and continue on that pace run.”

Tyler Pavelic, Middle

There’s lots more in store for this McMaster team and its fans. Looking ahead, McMaster is on the road for two away games against Toronto Metropolitan University on Nov. 18 and Brock University on Nov. 20. The fan-favourite team will return on Nov. 25 for a six-game home stand

To keep up with the team, visit their website or Instagram. Students of McMaster University can attend games free of charge in Burridge Gym, only needing their student cards for entry.  

JOVAN POPOVIC / SPORTS EDITOR

In one of the most highly anticipated exhibition games of the year, the Marauders lose after four sets against the NCAA division one powerhouse

Last season the men’s volleyball team made a huge statement after finishing the regular season undefeated and winning the Ontario University Athletics provincial title. Now McMaster University’s strongest team is finally getting their new season started.  

Given the success from the previous season, the team got the opportunity to have a very meticulous preseason lined up. Prior to the 2021-2022 season, they only played one preseason game against Queen's University, where they were victorious with a three to one result.   

This season, however, has been much more exciting for the Marauders. Thus far the team has played four exhibition games to prepare for the OUA season, but the most exciting of the group just took place on Oct. 15.  

The big game came against American powerhouse school, the Ohio State Buckeyes. Historically speaking, the team usually attempts to face at least one American counterpart each season, and with the popularity of American college sports, it quickly becomes one of the most exciting games of the school year despite not counting in the standings.   

The big game came against American powerhouse school, the Ohio State Buckeyes. Historically speaking, the team usually attempts to face at least one American counterpart each season, and with the popularity of American college sports, it quickly becomes one of the most exciting games of the school year despite not counting in the standings.   

The Marauders would end up losing by a final score of three to one but kept it close throughout with the individual set scores being 20-25, 24-26, 28-26 and 17-25. They continuously showed resilience, as proven by the scores heading north of the typical 25 on multiple occasions.  

The Marauders will have a chance at redemption following the winter break in January, when they continue the North America Challenge. This time they’ll match up against the 2018 and 2019 American national champion and 2022 runner up Long Beach State University Dirtbags. The matchups will take place on Jan. 5 and Jan. 7 in Hamilton.  

Despite the disappointing outcome of the Buckeyes game, the team remains one of the strongest in the continent. They match up against tough opponents for a reason and look to take the competitive mindset from these games into the regular season as they attempt to go for the gold once again.  

C/O Yoohyun Park

It’s been quite the season so far, but which McMaster sports team impressed the most?

What a year it has been in the Marauders return to sport! After a long period of inactivity, in September the Marauders got back on track with their varsity schedules when most of the teams finally resumed their competitive runs. This season, McMaster students were lucky to see many teams perform well on the big stages, such as the Ontario University Athletics championships and even out of province competition to test their abilities.  

As the end of the school year approaches, it seemed appropriate to look back and determine which teams impressed our community the most. The following rankings are based on how far teams made it through the OUAs or any other championship and the competition that they had to face before achieving their spot. Without further ado, let’s look through the Sil’s five most impressive varsity performances of the season, counting down from five. 

5.  Men's and women’s wrestling 

It’s safe to say that this season has been very successful for both the men's and the women's wrestling teams. Last November the teams competed at a tournament hosted in Hamilton, where they collected a total of six medals — three silvers and three golds.  

Their success did not stop there. Just over a month ago, both of the teams competed at the Brock open, where they took on some of the best teams in Ontario. The event proved to be a very successful one for our wrestlers. The men’s team came out as champions and the women’s team placed third. Additionally, Francesco Fortino, a player on the men’s wrestling team won the Marauder of the Week accolade

The grind doesn't stop there for the wrestling teams. Their next challenge will be on April 2, when they will take part in the OUA championships in St. Catherines.  

4.  Women's basketball 

This season the women’s basketball team really made a name for itself in the OUAs. Despite having won the national title just two years prior, the team was widely viewed as being in a transition year due to so many early year players. Despite knowing that the competition was going to be rough and that it was going to take a lot of work for such a young team to make it to the OUA playoffs, they made it happen. 

Although there were ups and downs along the way, the team showed a lot of character in all of their games, managing to finish with a record of 10-7. When they started the OUA playoffs, they swept the Waterloo Warriors 63-45, which guaranteed them a quarterfinal spot. Unfortunately, their luck ran out in the quarters, where the Brock Badgers just narrowly came on top with 49-45.  

Overall, it was a season full of character for the Marauders, which is something which they wish to build on for next season after their exciting first year back. 

Overall, it was a season full of character for the Marauders, which is something which they wish to build on for next season after their exciting first year back. 

3.  Men’s soccer 

The men’s soccer team started playing their competitions in September and finished off near the middle of the first semester. Although it has been a while since we got to see the players in maroon, we can’t forget their astonishing run throughout. During their season, they played eleven games, of which six were wins and only two were losses. 

Much of the effort it took to make it that far came from their star striker, Dusan Kovacevic. The OUA athlete of the week accounted for just over 30% of the team’s goals. Furthermore, Kovacevic scored four times in a game against the Algoma Thunderbirds, which ended 7-0 for the Marauders.  

Although the team did make it to the quarterfinals of the OUA championships, they unfortunately fell 3-1 to the Carleton Ravens, which ended their eventful season.  

2. Men’s basketball 

The men’s basketball team has been very impressive this season. They consistently achieved good results and were even on a five-win streak in the OUA season.  

The men’s basketball team has been very impressive this season. They consistently achieved good results and were even on a five-win streak in the OUA season.  

Throughout the season, they won 12 out of the possible 18 games, which took them to the OUA championship knock-out stages. It wasn’t going to be easy, but the Marauders started strongly with their 12-point win against the Lakehead Timberwolves, thus guaranteeing them a spot in the semis. Unfortunately, that is where their journey ended as they were knocked out by the Badgers, 75-88. Regardless, the fantastic performance of the men’s basketball team this season deserves to be recognized near the top of this list.  

1. Men’s volleyball team 

Where do we start? The men’s volleyball team has been inspiring to watch, to say the least. They have fought their way through the OUA championships with ease, winning the title and making sure that they were the team to be feared, even far away from home.  

They have fought their way through the OUA championships with ease, winning the title and making sure that they were the team to be feared, even far away from home.  

The men’s volleyball team played 18 games between the regular season, the OUA playoffs and the national playoffs. Of these games, they won 17. In their first 12 games of the season in the group stages of the OUA, they did not lose a single game. Furthermore, the Marauders went on to glide through the OUA knockout stages against teams like the Windsor Lancers, the Brock Badgers and the Toronto Varsity Blues. The latter was the opponent the Marauders played against in the finals, where they clinched their first OUA title in three seasons.  

Things didn't end there for the team, as they went on to play in the U Sports championships in Winnipeg. Although the team did not start well, losing to the University of Calgary, they bounced back and achieved fifth in all of Canada, winning against Queens Gaels and the Manitoba Bisons in the consolation play-offs.  

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.

C/O McMaster Sports

After completing the season with eight wins and four losses, the women’s volleyball team is playoff bound

After completing their season on Mar. 2 with a sweep of the Windsor Lancers, the McMaster Marauders women’s volleyball team has started to look ahead to their next challenge: the playoffs. 

If the win against the Lancers was a sign of things to come, then opposing teams will have lots to worry about in their Marauders matchups, and the team made easy work of their final regular season game. The three sets came with final scores of 25-6, 25-8 and 25-14 with Sullie Sundara, Jessie Nairn, Ellie Hatashita and Emma McKinnon leading the way.

“We worked really hard as a team this year and I’m really proud of us for how far we’ve come. Second in the West, that’s a big deal. We’ve had to overcome a lot of adversity this year and we’ve really pushed through that. [We have] really worked hard to get where we are,” said McKinnon.

The team is very anxious to get their playoff journey started and they’ve got their eyes on the prize as they continue to prepare for their first big game. 

“We’re all preparing, watching videos [and] practicing. We’re all in a good mindset for [the] playoffs . . . Our general goal is to go to nationals. If we do what we can — if we play our game — I think that’s entirely possible,” explained McKinnon.

“We’re all preparing, watching videos [and] practicing. We’re all in a good mindset for [the] playoffs . . . Our general goal is to go to nationals. If we do what we can — if we play our game — I think that’s entirely possible."

Emma McKinnon, Women's Volleyball Team

On Mar. 12 the Marauders will take on the Western Mustangs, the fourth seed in the West who finished with seven wins and five losses. The game will take place at home in Burridge Gym, where students can attend free of charge. 

C/O The Canadian Press

How lockdown conditions affect indoor sports athletes  

After it was announced that Ontario University Athletics sports will be put on pause until at least Jan. 27 due to a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, many athletes and others involved in these sports were understandably upset. This decision not only meant that they wouldn't be able to compete, but also that their preparations for the seasons ahead were also halted due to gyms and other amenities being forced to close.  

In particular, the indoor sports were hit the worst. Volleyball and basketball had their seasons immediately postponed, which created a major interference. In particular, the men’s volleyball team dreaded the break the most, as they had won all their games throughout the season and still had the second half to go.  

All four of McMaster’s volleyball and basketball teams had found significant success going into the break, amassing a total combined record of 18 to four.  

The men’s basketball team had won five and lost only one of their OUA games, whilst going into the new year on a five win streak. Thomas Mastell, a second-year varsity basketball athlete expressed his disappointment with the season being postponed halfway through.  

“Honestly, it’s just really disappointing at this point. The whole team has worked so hard this season to do well in the championship and to have it all halted all of a sudden really was stressful,” said Matsell.  

“Honestly, it’s just really disappointing at this point. The whole team has worked so hard this season to do well in the championship and to have it all halted all of a sudden really was stressful,”

Thomas Mastell, Varsity Basketball Athlete

When asked about how he feels about OUA being labeled as an amateur league by the Ontario government, Matsell defended the organization and described how this decision does not consider the diligence and care invested into varsity athletics.  

“I feel that we’ve all been diligent in following all the COVID protocols so far this season. We have had a clean record throughout. Furthermore, to find out that the real reason why we cannot play anymore is due to not being “elite” makes me feel as if all our hard work so far wasn’t appreciated by the government,” said Matsell.  

Although the OUA is meant to resume its games on Jan. 27, there have been rumors circulating that the lockdown may be extended for even longer. What effect will this have on the players moving forward? We will have to wait to find out.  

C/O Iconscout

After taking the first two games of the season in their only flight trip, the team has set themselves up for another successful year

On Nov. 5 McMaster’s women’s volleyball team played their first games of the season. After making the long trip out to Lakehead — the only trip they will make this season by way of flight — they completed a sweep, winning both games three to zero. 

Although the Lakehead Thunderwolves were able to keep scores fairly competitive, the Marauders pulled away with a huge success to kick off their season. 

One of the stars of the show for the Marauders was outside hitter Jessie Nairn, a skilled fifth-year student. Nairn, along with Emma McKinnon and Sullie Sundara led the pack on offense, with McKinnon taking 12 kills and Sundara and Nairn taking eight each. 

Nairn would later speak to the importance of a strong start for the team following the completion of their successful series. 

“I think it was a great start to the season . . . It’s the farthest trip of the year, so it was a big one to start with. It was a great start winning all six sets, going undefeated on the weekend. I think it’s a good start for a young team to get us going,” said Nairn. 

Although Nairn felt good about her performance over the weekend, she felt like there was still more to desire. She explained how the team has great talent and significant potential and how there is a serious opportunity at hand for her squad to deal damage. The goals have been set sky high for the season and Nairn feels that they are within reach. 

“I think that I can always play better, but thought it was a good start to the season for myself . . . We have a very strong team this year and we are going to make big things happen. Our goals are always going to be to win this league — win the OUA, get to nationals and do big things there as well. This year we really have a good chance to get there,” explained Nairn.

One of the challenges the Marauders must face each year is simply the difficulty of the division they were placed in. Along with the Lakehead Thunderwolves, they also face opponents such as the Brock Badgers, Waterloo Warriors, Windsor Lancers, Western Mustangs and Guelph Gryphons. 

Nairn noted the difficulty of the division the Marauders find themselves in, but stressed that the team has what it takes to come out on top. 

“The competition in this league is strong, especially in the OUA west. It’s getting stronger and stronger over the years, but I think we have a shot against every single team that we’re up against. We have incredible skill at every single position this year,” said Nairn. 

"The competition in this league is strong, especially in the OUA west. It’s getting stronger and stronger over the years, but I think we have a shot against every single team that we’re up against. We have incredible skill at every single position this year."

Jessie Nairn

It may be early, but currently standing first place in their division provides a strong sense of promise for the team as they continue with their season. As one of only four total teams (out of 14 total) who are currently undefeated, they have become one of the teams to beat. 

The next matchup for the team comes against the Brock Badgers on Nov. 19 and Nov. 21, with the second game of the pair being the team homecoming. With a 73.7% winning percentage against the Badgers over the last decade, the Marauders should have a great opportunity to extend their streak.

C/O Yoohyun Park/Production Coordinator

Fans attend the game for a couple of hours, but how much effort gets put into preparing a game?

Football, basketball and volleyball — these are McMaster’s three most popular varsity sports for students to enjoy watching, but there are many more, from badminton to field hockey to water polo and more. Not only does each sport require a different set up, but each individual game does too. For example, setting up for football homecoming to a sold out stadium required a different set of plans than the second game against the Laurier Golden Hawks when it was rainy and cold. 

All these considerations and more are handled by TJ Kelly, the Facilities and Events Manager for McMaster’s athletics and recreation department. After he thinks of everything, Dalton Jeyapalan, the Events Coordinator, implements it with Kelly’s approval as the final word.

Jeyapalan originally recognized his passion for working with sports when he was an undergraduate student at York University, holding an event staff job as part of the work-study program. 

“I just knew that it was bigger than myself; it was part of school identity. And sports have a huge role in a lot of individuals and their success in their academics, so I knew that I always wanted to work in university athletics. I felt it was just more intimate and more focused on individual self development and growth,” explained Jeyapalan. 

"I just knew that it was bigger than myself; it was part of school identity. And sports have a huge role in a lot of individuals and their success in their academics, so I knew that I always wanted to work in university athletics. I felt it was just more intimate and more focused on individual self development and growth."

Dalton Jeyapalan, Events coordinator

As Events Coordinator, Jeyapalan is on campus quite often, even on off days. It takes about a week to set up properly and ensure that the event runs smoothly. He considers multiple groups of people, from audio and visual, to the OUA and even student organizations such as the Black Student Athlete Council. All these groups and many more have something to gain from being considered in the planning of these events. He ensures each group has exactly what they need through constant communication and piecing everything together like a puzzle. 

“If you get the logistics in place a few days in advance, it helps for a seamless event, rather than just figuring it out at game time and I gotta tell people, ‘Okay go get this, go get that.’ It's more like having this stuff prepped, knowing where it is and that way when the questions are asked, you have the answer as soon as possible,” said Jeyapalan. 

Luckily, when it comes to putting the entire event together on the day of, Jeyapalan isn’t alone. He is aided by a group of event staff, made up of McMaster students. There are about 45 to 50 event staff and different quantities of staff members are in attendance at every game. Event staff help out with a variety of game day operations such as COVID-19 documentation check, ticket scanning and more. 

For Jeyapalan, the event staff are his coworkers and people he can help grow and succeed, both in their careers and academically. He encourages students as a whole to push the envelope and try new things to see what they’re really capable of. 

“I like to think that I'm a prime example. I never thought I could work in sports and I tested the envelope. I did things that are out of the ordinary and I'm here now . . . Give me a shout, follow me on LinkedIn. I’m there and we can definitely connect and see where your opportunities can align with mine and we can see how far you can go above me. Because that’s my main goal — to see everyone around me get bigger and better,” said Jeyapalan. 

Because that’s my main goal — to see everyone around me get bigger and better

Dalton Jeyapalan

Just like how events require a lot of planning, so does a university career; however, it helps to add a little bit of fun. Students may not have fan cams cheering them on, but they have friends, professors and more all ready to support one another. It is important for students in all university communities, not just within sports, to support each other and remember that their friends, professors and support systems are there to help.

If interested in supporting McMaster’s varsity teams, tickets are now available for basketball and volleyball at mcmaster.universitytickets.com with more non-ticketed events coming in the winter season during second semester.

Yoohyun Park/Production Coordinator

After dissolving for a year, WALC has officially been brought back

The Women’s Athletic Leadership Committee was originally formed during the 2017-2018 season. However, during the pandemic season, the committee unfortunately dissolved. This year, it has been revamped, spearheaded by fifth-year basketball player Sarah Gates. 

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“My coach [Theresa Burns] has been a huge advocate for women's sports ever since I was in first year. She's always kind of encouraged us to find our voices and stand up for things we believe in and as I'm now in fifth year I kind of realized that I'm super passionate about women in sport,” said Gates.

WALC is made up of several teams that focus on initiatives such as education panels, fundraising, special events and community outreach. WALC also includes team representatives. The goal of WALC is to create a platform that empowers women athletes and encourages them to find their voice. During her past four years as a female student-athlete, Gates realized an opportunity to step up as a leader, and aid female student-athletes to find greater success by utilizing the community around them. 

Mia Spadafora is also a member of WALC and she sits on the educational panel's executive team. She, like Gates, stressed the importance of the committee going forward.

“There are a lot of women in sport, especially women in Canadian sport, that don't really get the light shed on them that they need and deserve. So it's really important that we can kind of form and start this in our own community before hopefully getting more of an outreach and growing that towards other people and other communities,” explained Spadafora. 

For Spadafora and Gates, WALC is just the first step in generating a larger spotlight on female sports. They focus on women supporting women as they advocate for themselves and their own well-deserved recognition. 

For example, they hope to begin with women's teams going out to support other women's teams at their games. Spadafora explained that the stadium only starts to get full near the end of the game as spectators come out to watch the men’s game that happens right after. As such, simply putting women's sports on the map and building awareness is a high priority and challenge for the committee. 

However, simply empowering female McMaster athletes is not enough for this team. Gates wants to be able to reach out into the community as role models and mentors to people of all ages and experiences, from alumni to those who are no longer actively competing. 

In addition to encouraging awareness, WALC has many events planned on the horizon. In October, they recently completed their first workshop, the WALC Empower Hour designed to support female student-athletes in all aspects of their life including nutrition, sleep habits and networking. 

In November, they are planning an alumni panel with a coaches panel in December. They are also starting community outreach virtually by conversing with community and club teams about goals, goal setting and balancing a student-athlete lifestyle. There are many more events in the works, including a women’s athletic leadership event for International Women’s Day in the second semester with continuous workshops and panel discussions. 

WALC is back and here to stay. Be sure to keep an eye out for their events. Tickets for the women’s basketball and volleyball games are now available at https://mcmaster.universitytickets.com/

C/O Pixabay

As McMaster students make their way back to campus, intramurals will be making a subsequent comeback.

Preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, the McMaster University Athletics and Recreation department organized a wide variety of intramural sports on campus for each fall term. These sports ranged from indoor activities such as volleyball, to typical outdoor activities like soccer. This year the intramural program will look different. 

For most sports, the number of players on the teams will be limited. This is to mitigate potential community spread and to limit the number of player interactions as much as possible. The sports that are affected by these limitations are soccer, volleyball, basketball and floorball. The number of players per team is different for each sport.

According to the COVID-19 Back To Mac website, those planning for fall intramurals can expect to have a variety of outdoor intramural sports, including soccer, spike ball, ultimate frisbee, touch rugby and softball. These activities were chosen based on safety considerations and the ability to deliver them safely without compromising the experience for students.

Presently, the Athletics and Recreation department have delayed any official announcement regarding the intramurals for the fall term. 

“Safety is their number one priority . . . We are still finalizing some protocol details as per the provincial government announcement,” said Peter McComie, the intramural sports coordinator.

Many of these decisions involved the inclusion of vaccine passports around Ontario for non-essential activities, allowing for further close contact between students. 

"We must go through the McMaster health and safety channels before we can finalize our departmental plans and put anything out to the public about our recreational programs. Student and participant safety is the highest priority,” explained McComie.

"We must go through the McMaster health and safety channels before we can finalize our departmental plans and put anything out to the public about our recreational programs. Student and participant safety is the highest priority

Peter McComie, Intramural Sports Coordinator

The McMaster Intramural website has since provided further updates, having listed a total of 15 sports for registration throughout the fall. Out of the 16 sports, three of them are remote while the other 13 are going to take place on campus. 

The three remote categories of sports are fantasy leagues, E-sports and National Football League picks. Within the E-sports category, FIFA, Madden, Rocket League and chess will be available to players to sign up for. 

Every sport will offer a “PlayFun” league which is a division for those who just want to play casually, offering a social and active lifestyle blend. However, sports such as basketball, soccer and volleyball will also offer a “PlayComp” league, which is a division build for those interested in playing in a more competitive and higher effort league.

Thirteen other sports will take place on campus, which include indoor and outdoor activities. The indoor activities include softball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, touch rugby and spikeball. The outdoor activities include innertube water polo, pickleball, badminton, table tennis, volleyball, basketball and floorball. 

Pricing for the fall intramurals ranges from free to $120 per team. The remote sports — such as the E-sports leagues or NFL picks — are the cheapest, compared to softball and waterpolo, which are the most expensive at $120 and $110 per team, respectively. 

The season length for the fall intramurals differs from sport to sport. The outdoor sports will start in mid-September and will take place until early November due to the challenging weather conditions that occur mid-November onwards. Indoor sports will have their seasons shifted a month later, starting at the end of October and finishing by the beginning of December. However, the remote leagues will take place from September to December. 

Registration for the McMaster fall intramurals will begin on Sept. 8 for outdoor sports and remote leagues, whereas indoor registration will begin on Sept. 19. Every student that wishes to participate in this semester's intramurals can do so through the IMLeagues website by creating an account and registering their team through the portal. If a student doesn't have a team and wishes to register solo, they can register as a free agent on the website and will be placed into a team. 

For additional information, visit the McMaster intramurals page or the McMaster intramurals calendar.

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