Ricciuti's goal stands as McMaster beats Ryerson 1-0 to advance to OUA final

Ricciuti's goal stands as McMaster beats Ryerson 1-0 to advance to OUA final

Facing their second division-winner in as many games, the Marauders produced a disciplined and defensively-sound effort on Saturday to thwart the Ryerson Rams and advance to their second-consecutive OUA final with a 1-0 win at York.

The victory also ensured that McMaster's season will last for another week, as the Marauders earned a berth in the CIS Championship tournament, having advanced to the conference final. They will meet the winner of the later semifinal between the York Lions and Toronto Varsity Blues in a 2:00 p.m. final on Sunday. Should York advance to that game, the OUA bronze-medalist will assume the Lions host berth at the national tournament.

Sasha Ricciuti scored the only goal of Saturday's game, in what was largely a defensive battle between two evenly-matched teams. Ryerson fell to McMaster for the second-consecutive year at the OUA semifinal stage.

With a vocal and partisan crowd in their corner, the Rams began the sunny semifinal strongly, and had the best of possession in the opening half. They had few scoring chances, and only four shots directed toward Marauder goalkeeper Angelo Cavalluzzo, but Ryerson looked the most likely to score.

For their part, the Marauders appeared stretched in the opening 45 minutes, and did very little to worry the Rams defensive line, often lobbing forward and looking to play direct without the quality of ball necessary to succeed.

Wasteful with their possession, the Rams could not find an opening goal before the onset of the half, and the Marauders punished their opponents dearly for that inability.

McMaster resumed play with newfound purpose and flair, and fully deserved their lead when a well-worked break put the Marauders ahead in the 57th minute. Forward Stefan Scholz attempted an audacious overhead, and although he missed, the ball was critically not cleared by Ryerson. Instead, Scholz had a shot blocked, and the rebound spilled to Ricciuti, who had little to do to slot the ball inside the near post.

Having crafted a lead, the Marauders nearly doubled it just minutes later, when Scholz was the right man in the right place yet again, finding a cross at the far post and getting a late touch that was just snuffed out by Ryerson keeper Paveen Ahilan.

With the clock quickly becoming their worst enemy, the Rams pushed forward in ever greater numbers, desperate for an equalizing goal. Several long-range shots resulted, but the work of Cavalluzzo in the air was key as McMaster calmly rode the storm.

Content to pump the ball toward the corner flag, Mac sent substitute Ross Genovese ranging alone into the Ryerson end, as the Marauders wore the clock down. The Rams had one final, glorious opportunity to level when they were awarded a free kick at the edge of the Marauders box, but the end product whistled just wide of Cavalluzzo's near post.

Golden Hawks blank Gyphons 2-0
September 23, 2015 Golden Hawks blank Gyphons 2-0