The Toronto Varsity Blues continued their torrid pace to comfortably cruise into the semifinals, while the host Marauders staged a dramatic victory over the Western Mustangs to book their own bye on Day 2 of the OUA Badminton Championships.
Breezing through two head-to-heads on Saturday without dropping a single match, the Blues dispatched the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Guelph Gryphons by identical, perfect 10-0 scores to clinch top spot in Pool A and avoid playing in the night session's quarterfinals. Toronto lost just a single game across all 20 matches, with Bethany So once again providing the exclamation point. She opened her day with a 21-6, 21-2 thrashing of Ottawa's Dominique Lalonde, before teaming with Jim Zeng in the mixed doubles to defeat Guelph's Tsz Fung Chan and Inga Lo 21-9 and 21-8.
The Marauders had a considerably tougher task in securing their bye, with matches against Ryerson and Pool B's top-seeded Western Mustangs. Responding well to the first hurdle, Mac swept Ryerson 10-0, with the duo of Sashini Senarath and Joletta Cheung starring yet again, and Jason Sun navigating a tough, three-game match against Ryerson's Nathan Cheng to a 16-21, 21-19, 21-17 win.
Early signs were promising for Western in the battle of the two top seeds, as they swept the mixed doubles with wins by the pairs of Adrianna Giuffre and Bryan Jok and Karissa Chan and Jack Hall, and led 3-0 through three matches.
But McMaster roared back by winning six of the remaining seven matches, crucially sweeping the women's singles after wins from Sommer Chou and Cheung, and clinching the overall match with a three-game victory by Senarath and Cheung over Hanny Chen and Celine Zhen (15-21, 21-6, 21-18).
Western rebounded immediately, defeating the Ottawa Gee-Gees 6-2 in a quarterfinal to vault back into medal contention. Ottawa opened the match by sweeping the men's singles, as Kartikay Tyagi delivered a dominant performance to beat Western's Avery Lee 21-12, 21-5. But the Mustangs claimed the remainder of the events, and consigned the Gee-Gees to Sunday's fifth-place match.
Their opponents at that stage will be the Ryerson Rams, who fell agonizingly short of springing the upset at the expense of the Waterloo Warriors in the night's second quarterfinal. The match was a 5-5 draw with games also equal at 11 apiece, but Waterloo ultimately won out on the strength of the second tiebreaker: points won and lost. Out-pointing the Rams 402-361, the Warriors squeaked into the semifinal stage, where they will battle the Marauders.
Play resumes for the third and final day of the championships with semifinals and placement matches at 9:00 a.m on Sunday.