It took 15 minutes of extra time and penalty-kicks, but the Humber Hawks women’s indoor soccer team has been knocked off their perch atop the OCAA.
After three consecutive provincial indoor soccer titles, the OCAA has a new champion. Seneca College topped Hawks in the women’s gold medal game on March 22 at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ont.
The Hawks were resilient throughout the match, clawing their way back into the game, tying it late in the second half after falling behind 1-0 less than 30 seconds into the contest.
The Hawks also fought off a penalty in overtime, allowing them to extend the match before falling just short in penalty kicks.
Despite Humber controlling possession for the majority of the match, a tough Seneca defence kept the Hawks off the board until late in the second half, allowing the Sting to take advantage of the always-unpredictable penalty shootout.
“When it comes down to penalty shots it’s almost like a coin-toss,” said Hawks Coach Mauro Ongaro.
For the players, losing in penalty kicks is especially tough, said Alora Walcott, a Hawk defender and tournament all-star who scored for Humber in the shootout.
“Penalty shots are the worst way to lose. The net is so big and you don’t have any help so it’s kind of on you,” she said. “I’d rather lose in the game. I’d feel better about it if I know (my opponent) outplayed me.”
After a few key misses from Humber shooters, the game ultimately came down to Seneca versus tournament all-star and Humber goal-keeper Katerina Conde.
“Just staying calm and focused are key,” she said of penalty kick situations. “Take it one shot at a time. Don’t think about what happened. You have to look at every shot on net like it’s the first one.”
In spite of losing, Ongaro beamed as he discussed his team’s performance in the provincial championships.
“I’m very proud of (the team). They left it all out there, they did exactly what we wanted them to do,” he said. “They worked hard, they played with great passion and they played good soccer, so that’s all we can ask.”
It was smiles all around for the team as they accepted their silver medals as well.
“I feel good because we came and we left it all out on the field,” said Walcott. “We left it all between the white lines and unfortunately we just didn’t come out on top.”
The men’s indoor soccer team didn’t find the same success as their female counterparts.
The men finished the round robin with a 2-1 record, but missed out on a semi-final appearance due to a tiebreak situation.
However, the Hawks put forth a strong effort with wins against Sheridan and Seneca, and their lone loss coming at the hands of the eventual OCAA champion, the Redeemer Royals.