Giving the host Blues a scare along the way, the Marauders worked their way to OUA bronze by the end of the three-day conference championship in Toronto, and coach Quinn Fairley was recognized as a result.
Fairley was honoured as the OUA Coach of the Year for the fourth time, and first since 2006, while the duo of Oriol Herrerra and Colin Colterjohn were named OUA All-Stars.
Rebounding well from the heartbreak of their semifinal loss a night earlier, McMaster defeated the perennial powerhouse Carleton 9-6 for bronze on Sunday.
The Marauders signalled their intent to compete with the conference’s best by comfortably outclassing the Western Mustangs at the quarterfinal stage Friday, where Mac scored nine goals in the second half en route to a 13-7 win.
Herrerra and Alex Bozzo each had three goals for the Marauders, while seven others graced the scoresheet as McMaster rolled into Saturday’s semifinals.
There, Mac battled to a virtual standstill against the eventual champions, with Colterjohn, Herrerra, Jon Spence and Amr Ibrahim finding the back of the net in the first half to keep the Marauders within a goal at the break.
Shutout in the third quarter, McMaster faced a 7-4 deficit as it entered the fourth, and despite a second goal from Herrerra and another from Radu Plaiasu, the Marauders were unable to catch the Blues and dropped an 8-6 decision.
Erasing any memory of that result quickly on Sunday, Mac struck for six goals in the first half to set the tone against Carleton, with Herrerra and Ibrahim both scoring twice and leading the Marauders to a 6-1 halftime lead.
The Ravens made a game of it in the second half, scoring five goals down the stretch to close within three, but that was as close as they would come, as the Marauders saw out the podium finish.
In the companion women’s tournament, the National Collegiate Water Polo Championship, McMaster was forced to settle for fifth place after dropping its Friday quarterfinal 12-2 to Carleton.
Dramatically finding a bounce back win in Saturday’s consolation final, the Marauders edged the Guelph Gryphons 3-2 in a shootout, after Grace Fingland struck for the game-tying goal in the third quarter.
Source: Fraser Caldwell