Home court key as Huskies advance to OCAA Championship

3-0 win over Niagara earns George Brown a date with Fanshawe

A victory in straight sets can usually be characterized as a one-sided affair. While George Brown’s men’s volleyball team won 3-0 over the Niagara College Knights, there was nothing one-sided about the Feb. 19 match.

Each set was decided by the minimum two points, with scores of 25-23, 32-30 and 27-25. The three sets were effectively a microcosm of everything the Huskies have been this season: dominant, inconsistent, resilient.

The hosts saw a first set lead evaporate into a seesaw battle, one which defined the game’s remainder. But there’s something to be said for sticking with a back and forth tilt, and George Brown consistently edged whatever pushback Niagara provided.

“The way we sided out that game was what kept us in it,” said Huskies head coach Garrett May, who noted the uniqueness of what Niagara brought to the table. “We sided out probably 90 per cent on serve receive; you can’t ask for any better.”

By game’s end, George Brown posted 42 total kills on 89 total attacks, led by outside hitters D’Artaniel Jackman and Stephen Duong, who had 12 and 11 kills, respectively. With the win, the Huskies earned a berth in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Championship.

George Brown worked diligently down the stretch to host Sunday’s OCAA qualifying game, an exercise in hard work which paid off. Despite being Family Day weekend, the do-or-die match proved one of their better attended games, with a boisterous crowd supporting the home side. The venue’s intimacy was noted by Knights head coach Nathan Groenveld.

“No one in our program had ever played in this gym before,” said Groenveld, his team dejected after the loss. “It’s really small, it reverberates sound really well, so even with the decent sized crowd, it was really loud in here. I thought we did a good job competing; George Brown played really, really well today.”

For Huskies women’s basketball cornerstone Kiyann Grimaldo, the importance of attending was to form a real bond, one where the varsity athletes “all have each other’s backs”. Those in attendance comprised all slices of George Brown life, from family and friends to college president Anne Sado.

“There was just so much enthusiasm, so much excitement, and for the Huskies to take it in three when it was so close back and forth, it was a fantastic game,” said Sado. “Loved it.”

Rest assured, their support from the bleachers did not go unnoticed. May spoke of how the energy helped his side to enjoy playing the sport, a sentiment which dovetailed with Huskies first-year Kendrick Gamsawen.

“It was so important to be honest,” said Gamsawen. “I think the crowd always gets us amped and excited. With the crowd having our backs no matter what, it was such an uplifting feeling.”

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George Brown will now need to win without that crowd support, traveling to the OCAA Championship hosted by Mohawk College in Hamilton. Their reward for defeating Niagara is an opening match tomorrow afternoon against the Fanshawe Falcons, the top-ranked collegiate team in the country.

It’s as stiff a challenge as the Huskies could have faced. On the bright side, if they can beat Fanshawe tomorrow, they can beat anyone.


Home court key as Huskies advance to OCAA Championship