Denied by the tightestof margins on Friday, the Marauders bounced back in emphatic fashion Sunday in London to earn OUA bronze and the final berth in the U SPORTS Championship.
McMaster pumped three goals past the OUA East’s second-seeded Queen’s Gaels, easing to a 3-0 victory to climb the conference podium and advance to the national tournament in Ottawa as the eighth seed.
Rampant in front of goal all season, striker Steph Roberts added a pair of goals in her final OUA action of the year, swelling her playoff total to five after scoring a U SPORTS-leading 14 goals in the regular season.
She was joined on the scoresheet by veteran winger Ally Riganelli, whose headed tally in the 82nd minute put the game beyond all doubt.
Goalkeeper Juliana Hifawi did her part between the posts for the Marauders, stopping all three of the shots she faced to secure the clean sheet.
McMaster’s rollercoaster campaign now continues in the nation’s capital, where the Marauders will go in search of the second national title in their program’s history. Mac’s lone championship came in 1991.
Dangerous on the break throughout Sunday’s encounter, the Marauders were first rewarded in the 45th minute, when Riganelli squared a low cross for Roberts, whose first touch was a deft chip on goal that struck the underside of the crossbar and crossed the goal line before bouncing clear, drawing the goal call from the assistant referee.
Already finding inroads, McMaster became all the more threatening in the second half with the introduction of winger Jade Smith and striker Lindsay Bosveld through substitution.
The duo combined magnificently to set up Roberts’ second of the morning, with a spirited run and cross from Smith finding Bosveld, who shrugged off a defender, turned and fired on goal, inducing a rebound that fell neatly for Roberts to tuck inside the far post in the 51st minute.
Despite the Gaels mounting desperation, they were unable to consistently build any offensive pressure, forced as they were to routinely drop forwards deep to check the Marauders runs.
Their already troubling morning became disastrous eight minutes from the final whistle, when an in-swinging corner from Hannah Chau-Stacey bounced through the box before eventually finding the head of Riganelli, who nodded home for 3-0 and put the exclamation point on a famous McMaster win.
NEXT UP: The Marauders will meet the top team in the national rankings, the Montreal Carabins, in a U SPORTS quarterfinal in Ottawa on Friday, November 8. That match, the third of the afternoon, will get underway at 3:00 p.m. and can be seen live on USPORTS.live.
— McMaster Athletics (@McMasterSports) November 4, 2018
Source: Fraser Caldwell