Marauders fight to the end in Florida tournament

McMasterClearwater, FL – McMaster Marauders stumbled at the final hurdle in a battle against the Ontario University Athletics top team.

The Marauders narrowly missed capturing the Innisbrook University/College Invitational title, falling 15-12 to the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees in the fifth and final set on Sunday (Jan. 5). Mac took an early 2-0 lead, struggled in the third and the fourth and put up a fight in the fifth. Outside Sophie Bukovec and middle Taylor Brisbois were named to the tournament all-star team.

Bukovec led all Marauders offensively with 10 kills, and Brisbois pounded seven to the hardwood. Senior setter Kayla Ng made five blocks for the Marauders. Khira Adams led defensively for McMaster, recording nine digs in the effort.

While pleased with his team’s performance in the first two sets, Marauder head coach Tim Louks indicated that his charges needed a better response under the pressure of the fifth.

“I was happy with our execution in the first two sets,” said Louks. “Our play gave us a chance to stay on task under pressure. We were able to evaluate our personnel under stress against a very good team. But …… need to take care of business and I think we can do better than we did.”

Setter Amanda Weldon saw the final match as a welcome challenge for the Marauders, who impressively held their own against top competition.

“The last game against Ottawa is the type of game competitive teams thirst for,” she said. “They are a very strong team and the energy in the gym was electric. The game could have gone either way in the last set. It was a hard-fought battle and we will be ready to play them again.”

McMaster returns to conference play on Friday (Jan. 1o), when the Marauders welcome the Western Mustangs to the Burridge Gym to kick off Marauder Weekend. That match will get underway at 6 p.m.