4-3 victory gives George Brown its first medal finish since 2007
George Brown men’s soccer ended its season on a high note, with a dramatic 4-3 victory over Niagara College which went all the way to penalties.
Relegated to the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) bronze medal match after a 4-0 loss to Humber, the Huskies still had plenty to play for. The team had the opportunity to medal for the first time since 2007, not to mention a score to settle with the Niagara Knights, having split the season series 1-1.
But after the previous day’s drubbing, the Huskies had something more on the line: pride.
“We were very unfortunate in the semi-finals against Humber,” said Huskies forward Shaquille Agard. “For us, this was an important game because we wanted redemption, we wanted to show that we deserved to be in the finals.”
A 2016 OCAA all-star, Agard got the Huskies off to a promising start, opening the scoring just one minute in. However, George Brown took their foot off the gas pedal, and Knights forward Alex Latham tied the game after 10-minutes of solid pressure by Niagara.
The goal against seemed to wake George Brown up, as several high quality Huskies chances followed. Agard continued to drive the offence, and he knotted things up at two, after a 27th minute scare when Niagara took the 2-1 lead.
While George Brown largely took control in the second half, the teams found themselves even at 3-3 after regulation time. Two 15-minute overtime periods followed, during which the game’s narrative changed dramatically.
Having been carded earlier in the match, Knights forwards Keith Makubuya and Jacob Therrien both received their second yellows early into extra time and were sent off. Down two men, the scene was one Knights head coach Frank DeChellis would later describe as “a 22-minute defending drill.”
Despite a shot clock which read 15-5 in their favour, George Brown was unable to break through Niagara’s undermanned defence and the game went to a penalty shoot-out. There would be no upset however, as Nikolaos Takas and Brandon Medeiros found twine and Huskies keeper Jordan Sodhi provided key stops to give George Brown the victory.
“The team played really well,” said Sodhi. “We had a couple misunderstandings but other than that, we were confident going into penalties so it wasn’t an issue.”
Looking forward, Huskies head coach John Williams noted that most of his young team will be returning in 2017. Though satisfied with this year’s result, Williams has a clear vision of how to take the next step.
“The good teams really know how to win when they’re behind the eight ball, and we don’t know how to manage a football game,” said Williams. “We’ll work on managing a football game, add a little discipline to our play, we’ll come out a stronger unit and be ready for next year.”
The bronze medal game was held at Redeemer College.