GBC men look to defend their title; women seek to end drought at OCAA Championships
While the end goal may be the same, the situations are vastly different for George Brown College’s (GBC) men’s and women’s indoor soccer teams.
Head coach John Williams’ two clubs roll into Redeemer University College for the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Championships this week after qualifying in their respective regional competitions.
As the defending OCAA men’s champions, the Huskies arrive in Ancaster, Ontario in peak form. GBC cruised to a perfect 3-0 record at the regionals to book their ticket to the championship tournament led by Michael Whelan, who posted a five-goal game, Anthony Lombardi, and Omar Hussein.
For both the men’s and women’s competitions, 10 teams are divided into two divisions with round-robin play determining the cross-over semifinals.
For the men, Williams says that the team to be wary of in GBC’s division is UTM because of their high-powered offence. However, captain Jesse Oliver likes his own club’s chances.
“I think on paper we have better individual players than any other team,” said the fifth-year midfielder. “I think that helps us a lot because we tend to isolate and break down teams by individual play. I think if we just work hard and not let anyone outwork us, we should be fine.”
The women’s side did what they had to at the regionals, as they went 1-1-1 to scrape their way by into the OCAA championships by virtue of a tie-breaker with UTM. They key was a 6-0 blowout of Sault College that provided the Huskies with a five goal-differential. Kayla Marziliano led the way at the regional championship for GBC, collecting six goals.
This edition of the Huskies heads into the tournament trying to capture George Brown’s first OCAA women’s indoor soccer title since 1998. GBC is in a division which Williams calls a “group of death”, with Humber, Seneca, and St. Clair, who combined, have won the last seven OCAA championships.
“We can compete. It’s, can the girls stick to our game plan?” said Williams. “We’re not as dynamic as some of the other teams, but we are very cohesive and work well together.”
GBC’s women are searching for their first OCAA soccer medal since a sliver in 2002 and they don’t appear to be intimidated by the heavyweights that await.
“I know we have a very difficult pool,” said Huskies defender Effie Takas, “and I know that the two teams that are going to be difficult for us is going to be Humber and St. Clair but I do believe that we are able to beat them. I think that if we do play our game and play as a unit, we’ll be able to beat both of them.”
Action starts on Thursday with the men facing Redeemer at 9 a.m. while the women face Durham at 12:20 p.m.