Winner-take-all match stands between George Brown and the OCAA Championships
With their playoff destiny already etched in stone, the Huskies men’s soccer squad fell 1-0 to the Seneca Sting on Saturday.
Had George Brown won the central division, they would have earned a bye into the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Championships. But having lost both games against the division-leading Humber Hawks, not to mention a 2-0 loss to Niagara and 2-2 tie versus U of T Mississauga, the Huskies’ second-place finish was cemented long before Saturday’s kickoff.
The game itself was a largely back-and-forth affair. After Sting midfielder Daniel Goodyear found twine five minutes into the second half, Huskies goalkeeper Jordan Sodhi made up for it with a beautiful left glove save at the 74th minute to keep George Brown within striking distance.
Despite heavy pressure in the match’s waning minutes, the Huskies were unable to solve Seneca goalkeeper Kofi Oppong, who was at the top of his game. In addition to controlling his box, the first-year social work student distributed the ball with sublime perfection, keeping George Brown on their toes.
“We took this game as if we were playing the last game of the season,” said Oppong, after earning his first shutout of the year. “We gave 100 per cent on the field. In the locker room, we encouraged ourselves that no matter what, we got to fight hard to the finish.”
According to Sting midfielder Edward Buabeng, Seneca’s coaches had told the team to give it their all, and at season’s end they’d see the results. The Sting’s playoff hopes were alive until Tuesday, when they lost 4-1 to the Humber Hawks, resulting in a fifth-place divisional finish. After beginning 2016 with five straight losses, Seneca ended the season with three wins in their last five games.
As for George Brown, which finishes the year with a 5-4-1 record, the team’s attention has already shifted to the postseason.
“We knew we were second place. We took a few yellow cards in order to have a clean sheet going into the playoffs, so everybody got an opportunity to play,” said Huskies head coach John Williams. “Sure, it would have been nice to put a W on the paper, but having said that, our focus is playoffs.”
In order to reach the eight-team OCAA Championships, the Huskies face a one game play-in vs. Fleming College. Although George Brown sported a 1-3-1 record to close out the regular season, Huskies midfielder Jesse Oliver still believes in the team’s identity.
“I think we lost ourselves a bit, but it’s still there,” said Oliver, who wore the captain’s armband in Saturday’s tilt. “It’s just still believing in each other, and I think we’ll be fine. We just have to work harder.”
The George Brown Huskies take on the eastern division’s Fleming Knights on Saturday, Oct. 22, with a 3:00 pm kickoff at Esther Shiner Stadium.