McMaster sent home medal-less but full of things to come

The McMaster Marauder’s women’s soccer team didn’t have any hardware hanging around their necks after this weekend’s Ontario University Athletics’ Final Four tournament hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University, but they’ve made their statement.

They’ll be back.

“We’re a promising team coming up,” said first-year striker Stephanie Davis. “We didn’t get the results we wanted, but … [the OUA] should expect good things from us [down the road].”

The Marauders lost their bronze medal match, 4-0 to the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Sunday after losing 3-0 to the Queen’s Gaels in the semi-finals Saturday.

But the game didn’t reflect a 4-0 match. Davis herself hit a post and a crossbar and goaltender Brittany Duffey stopped more than a few quality chances by speedy Ottawa forward and midfielder Elisabeth Wong and Tara Condos.

Kirsten Lowe played a strong defensive game and Tara Dawdy had one of the Marauders’ best chances of the game with a strike from in the 18-yard box.

After the first half ended with two goals from Ottawa’s Julia Francki (a laserbeam from 26 yards out) and Corina Jarett (an easy tap-in from a pretty passing play by Jarrett, Wong and Francki), McMaster started pressuring the Gee-Gees.

Davis had a chance to make it 3-1, but her strike sailed off the crossbar from in-close.

“Tara [Dawdy] had a nice layback and held onto the ball, and took a nice shot-pass so it was a good setup,” described Davis. “I thought we played well, moving the ball around, we just couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities.”

“I’m very proud of them,” said McMaster head coach Brett Mosen. “I thought they approached the game well after a tough loss yesterday. But that’s the way they’ve been all season. Their commitment to the game is second to none.”

The game ended tragically for defenceman Lyndsie Hemrica, the third-year from Hamilton. Hemrica collided with another player as she headed the ball with two minutes remaining in the match, and went to the hospital with a neck injury. Julia Maiolino also left the game early with concussion-like symptoms and vomiting.

Krista Draycott and Tara Condos added singles for Ottawa.

The Marauders will graduate Lowe and possibly Cristina Leonardelli, Melanie Van Der Hoop, Hayley Marler and Natalie Kollars.

But the future is now for this team with young players like Davis, Duffey and Natalie Brace leading the way for the squad.

“i think it was important for me and this team to experience teams that aren’t in our bracket [this weekend] and we’ll be back here next year,” said Mosen.

“The future’s bright.”

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