Ugly win brings needed points
It was hardly a pretty victory, but at this late stage in their conference schedule the Marauders will take three points however they can get them.
On Oct. 14, the Marauders welcomed the Brock Badgers to Ron Joyce Stadium, and contested a match under less than optimal weather conditions.
With the on-pitch temperature low, wind gusting strongly, and intermittent rain showers pelting the players, the quality of play on offer was understandably low.
For the vast majority of the match, it appeared that a scoreless draw was on the cards, as both sides lacked the firepower to threaten the goal.
But in injury time, McMaster ensured a full three points and heartbreak for the visitors as forward Natalie Kollars got a head to a free kick from midfield general Mel van der Hoop and directed it home for the dramatic winner.
The 1-0 victory was the third consecutive win for the Marauders, and solidified their hold on third place in the OUA’s West Division.
While the weather undoubtedly affected the standard of play on Oct. 14, Marauder goalkeeper Brittany Duffey said that the conditions were nothing new for she and her teammates.
“It’s not the first time we’ve played in that kind of condition, so I think we were used to it at that stage,” argued Duffey. “Of course it wasn’t the best game of soccer, but I think we coped well and so did they.
“Really, being in front of our fans helped to give us that extra push that we needed.”
A theme that has reoccurred for the McMaster squad throughout their season is one of raising and lowering their standard of play to match that of their opponents, for better and worse. Duffey agrees that such a trend was on display on Oct. 14.
“I think that was at work a little bit,” said the second-year keeper. “When we play teams like Brock I think we do tend to bring down our level. It did show a bit on Friday, and I think we played hard but we didn’t play as well as we could have.”
One constant in the Marauders’ recent winning streak has been their sterling defensive record, which has seen Duffey claim four shutouts in the team’s last five matches. For her part, the Marauder keeper attributes the clean sheets to a growing understanding amongst she and her defenders.
“If I didn’t have the support of the team, I wouldn’t have confidence in net, and I wouldn’t play as well as I could,” said Duffey. “I really have to commend the defence because we’ve had some tough times but we’ve worked through them and started to communicate better.”
With only two games remaining on their conference schedule, the Marauders will play their final home game on Oct. 21 against the Waterloo Warriors.
Duffey explains that the time is right for a tight game, as Waterloo comes in riding the high of beating the nation’s best and their cross-town rivals from Laurier.
“I think they [Waterloo] will come out with some real confidence,” said the Marauder keeper. “We just have to stay mentally prepared and play our game. Right now, our team is pretty confident.
“If we just keep the momentum that we have, it’ll be a good game.”
The Marauders will look to build on that momentum with a win against the Warriors, which would stand them in good stead for their season-ending clash with the Laurier Golden Hawks in Waterloo.
Game time for the Oct. 21 clash at Ron Joyce is 6 p.m.