The result was comfortable for the Marauders, even while the conditions at Ron Joyce Stadium were not. The McMaster men’s soccer team took a two-goal lead into halftime and added a third late in the second, as the Marauders coasted to a 3-0 victory over the UOIT Ridgebacks as fog settled over the campus on Sunday (Oct. 6).
Gersi Xhuti and Nate Morris had goals for McMaster, with a UOIT own-goal providing the second goal of the game. The win keeps the Marauders (8-2-2) comfortably in third in the Ontario University Athletics West Division, with 26 points from 14 games. The Ridgebacks (1-10-1) share the division’s worst record with the Waterloo Warriors.
The two sides started loosely, but it was the Marauders who began to turn the screws as the first half wore on. Xhuti pressed forward frequently, lying just behind striker Paterson Farrell, and it was his opportunism that produced the opening goal. The Ridgebacks played a routine horizontal ball across the backfield, but the pass was a complacent one and Xhuti immediately latched on and beat the scrambling defender in front of him. The McMaster midfielder smartly held the ball and one-touched past the onrushing UOIT goalkeeper before side-footing home to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute.
A costly miscue on the Ridgebacks part doubled the Marauders lead six minutes later. A low cross came into the box and demanded a clearance, but the UOIT defender could only deflect the ball past his own, flat-footed goalkeeper.
McMaster seemed content to defend its two-goal advantage in the second half, and largely kept UOIT clear of any threatening positions. Angelo Cavalluzzo was forced into an alert save, however, midway through the period, when the third-year goalkeeper got his fingertips on a Ridgeback drive from the edge of the area.
Morris completed the scoring in the 87th minute.
The Marauders face a short turnaround in preparing for their next opponents, as McMaster travels to London to battle the Western Mustangs on Wednesday. That game will follow the women’s match, and is scheduled to get underway at 8 p.m.