OUA tournament medal game in Gryphons’ near future
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons are to play for a medal Sunday at the OUA field hockey championship tournament on their own Varsity Field.
That was guaranteed Friday when the Gryphs opened the tournament with an 8-0 victory over the McMaster Marauders, the lone team at the tournament that doesn’t play in the OUA league during the regular season.
With the Gryphs being the tournament’s top seed after finishing first in league play, a win in the game was almost a certainty before the match started.
“More of what we had to worry about was ‘Did we come to play properly?’ Those guys, they’re not playing in the league so it’s not like they’ve played a lot of games,” Gryphon coach Michelle Turley said. “They had a couple of exhibition games and we tried to get one with them a couple of times. The important thing is not to play down to the level of the other team because they’re just so inexperienced and to try not to hang onto the ball too long.”
The Gryphs achieved those two goals in most cases.
“We just wanted to stick to our basics and kind of get the feeling of the surface again for game play,” Gryphon forward and league MVP Katherine MacMillan said. “Obviously we practise on it every morning, but we just wanted to get back into game play on this.”
MacMillan, Alexa Corrado and Bailey Mitchell each scored twice while Kayla Magarelli and Nyah Miranda had single goals. Maryam Maamoun picked up the win in net.
McMaster goalie Maddie Mason-Gaynor took the loss, but made 18 saves.
“We didn’t have our greatest game, our first touch on the ball could’ve been better and ball speed in the backfield could’ve been better,” Turley said. “But it’s always hard to play at that level.”
The Gryphs also didn’t want to humiliate the Marauders, a team that lost its three games at last year’s tournament by 16-0, 9-0 and 6-0 scores.
“I’m glad it wasn’t as big a score against Mac as it was last year because Mac is trying to get into the league,” Turley said.
“We just have to play our game and once we get a couple of goals, we try to work on other things like working on different systems, positioning, scoring and all that kind of stuff and getting different players in, too — just trying things,” MacMillan said.
In Friday’s other games, second-seed Toronto Varsity Blues downed seventh-seed McGill Martlets 7-0, third-seed and defending champion York Lions downed sixth-seed Western Mustangs 3-0 and fifth-seed Waterloo Warriors edged fourth-seed Queen’s Gaels 3-2 in a shootout.
Saturday’s championship semifinals are to have Toronto and York clash at 9 a.m. and the Gryphs play Waterloo at 11 a.m. Losers are to play in Sunday’s bronze-medal game at 1 p.m. while the winners are to meet in the gold-medal game at 3 p.m.
“We’ll be a competitive team, but obviously everyone else is hungry to win,” MacMillan said. “We’re pretty close at the top this year so as long as we play our game, I think that we could be pretty successful. We’re just going to try our best and hopefully we get the win.”
Gryphons 8 Marauders 0
- Guelph Sports Journal