HAMILTON, Ont. - Providing a fitting finish to a dominant weekend in Hamilton, the Toronto Varsity Blues rolled to OUA gold on Sunday. After navigating a tough 6-4 win over the Western Mustangs at the morning semifinal stage, the Blues dispatched the host Marauders 6-1 in the gold medal match to mark a remarkable turnaround from a fifth-placed finish a year ago.
For McMaster, silver represented the best finish in team history, and it came after a dramatic semifinal victory over the defending champion Waterloo Warriors. Despite losing out to the Blues in the morning, the Western Mustangs rebounded strongly to claim bronze at the expense of the Warriors, cutting the match short at 6-2.
Toronto rookie Rachel Honderich, who was a Pan Am Games finalist in the summer of 2015, took home several pieces of hardware in the wake of her team's win. Honderich won the triple crown of OUA All-Star, Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player after victories in all eight of the matches she played over the course of the weekend.
MVP honours on the men's side, meanwhile, went to Danny Paulson of the Mustangs, who played an outsized part in his team's run to the podium. Paulson played thirteen matches over the course of the weekend, winning 12 of those while dropping a total of just four games.
Waterloo doubles specialist Stephen Lau took home the men's Rookie of the Year award after a busy championship weekend that similarly saw him compete in 13 matches. He notched four wins in mixed doubles competition, providing the constant in pairs alongside Carrie Law, Emily Lam and Judy Tan, and featured in three men's doubles wins with partner Larry Liu.
Leading his team to OUA gold in just his first year at the helm, Toronto's Stephane Cadieux was named as the Coach of the Year.
Sunday opened with a pair of close-fought semifinals, as Toronto and McMaster both needed clutch performances from women's doubles teams to see off their challengers.
Level at four apiece through eight events against the Mustangs, the Blues pulled away with a pair of dominant sweeps by the pairs of Honderich and Brittany Tam and Joanne Chen and Bethany So, to book their spot in the gold medal match.
Continuing the trend of their weekend, the Marauders were carried by the strong play of their women as they battled past the Warriors. Sommer Chou and Joletta Cheung notched crucial singles wins over Ailynna Chen and Emily Lam respectively, before Chou and partner Caitlin Sherry and Cheung and partner Sashini Senarath overhauled Waterloo's late lead with a sweep of the women's doubles. Providing an emotional final match of the tie, Cheung and Senarath outlasted Lam and Law to seal a 14-21, 21-17, 21-19 win that sent McMaster's players and coaches storming onto court in celebration.
The Marauders Cinderella story did not survive the gold medal match, however, as Toronto handily outclassed McMaster en route to the OUA banner. Jason Sun provided the only point for the Marauders, defeating Toronto's Andre Chan, as the Blues clinched the title when Chan and Adwin Lau completed a hard-won 21-14, 25-23 victory over Mac's Desmond Chan and Sean Leith.
Meanwhile, Paulson shone in the bronze medal match, providing a singles win over Nathan Leung (21-13, 21-15) and a doubles victory with partner Bryan Jok at the expense of Clarence Chan and Andrew Lee, as Western ended the confrontation with Waterloo after just eight events. The Mustangs swept the men's singles and doubles events, and clinched the decision after Jack Hall and Avery Lee dispatched the duo of Anthony Ho and Lau.
In other results, the Ottawa Gee-Gees edged the Ryerson Rams in a lengthy battle to claim fifth place by a 6-4 score, while the York Lions defeated Queen's 6-4 to finish seventh and Guelph broke into the win column to finish ninth by beating Carleton 6-4.
OUA MAJOR AWARDS
Coach of the Year: Stephane Cadieux (Toronto)
Male Rookie of the Year: Stephen Lau (Waterloo)
Female Rookie of the Year: Rachel Honderich (Toronto)
Male Most Valuable Player: Danny Paulson (Western)
Female Most Valuable Player: Rachel Honderich (Toronto)
Stephen Lau (Waterloo)
Larry Liu (Waterloo)
Jacob Kao (McMaster)
Bryan Jok (Western)
Danny Paulson (Western)
Hok Poy Lo (York)
Jason Mak (York)
Jackie Yueng (Toronto)
Vivian Kwok (Ryerson)
Caitlin Yee (Waterloo)
Carrie Law (Waterloo)
Sommer Chou (McMaster)
Karissa Chan (Western)
Rachel Honderich (Toronto)
Brittney Tam (Toronto)
Bethany So (Toronto)
Day 3 Results
Morning Session (9:00 a.m.)
Semifinal: Toronto 6-4 Western
Semifinal: McMaster 6-4 Waterloo
Seventh Place Game: York 6-4 Queen's
Ninth Place Game: Guelph 6-4 Carleton
Medals and Fifth Place (1:00 p.m.)
Gold: Toronto 6-1 McMaster
Bronze: Western 6-2 Waterloo
Fifth: Ottawa 6-4 Ryerson