BY ALEX STEWART
The Sheridan Bruins men’s soccer defied all odds and advanced to the OCAA finals for the first time since the 2012 on Oct. 27.
The Bruins’ route to the OCAA championship game was a hard-fought one that started out in Scarborough against the Centennial Colts.
Sheridan Bruins (6-0-5) 3 – 0 Centennial Colts (6-3-2)
The Centennial Colts came into the qualifier as the 3rd place in the east division and the Bruins finished the season in second place in the central division.
The Bruins and the Colts were knotted up for the entire first half as both teams went into the intermission with zero goals.
Sheridan turned up the pressure as they recorded 18 of their 22 shots in the second half.
Rahim Thorpe, previous CCAA Athlete of the week and OCAA star of the week, recorded a hat trick in the second half propelling His efforts propelled the Bruins past the Colts with a 3-0 victory.
Sheridan Bruins (7-0-5) 3 – 0 Durham Lords (7-1-4)
The Durham Lords (#2 in the East) came into the quarterfinal at Esther Shiner following their 2-1 win over the St. Clair Saints.
The Bruins pulled ahead early after Francis Ameyaw scored the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute.
Sheridan didn’t look back in the second half after Cyrus Rollocks (73’) and Manuel Morgado (84’) both found the back of Durham’s net to take a 3-0 win over the Lords.
Sheridan Bruins (8-0-5) 3 – 2 Algonquin Thunder (9-2-2)
The Bruins were coming into the semi-finals following two blowout wins against the 2nd and 3rd place teams from the eastern conference. Their next challenge would be the first place team from the east, the Algonquin Thunder.
The Thunder put a quick stop to any momentum the Bruins were riding in on after scoring two goals in the first half.
With the Bruins down 2-0 at the half, it was clear that it would take 2nd half heroics to advance to the OCAA finals.
Sheridan answered the call after Rollocks scored the first Bruin’s goal (66’) and the eventual game-winner in the 86th minute. Thorpe scored the equalizer in the 70th minute.
OCAA Men’s Final
Sheridan Bruins (8-1-5) 1 – 2 Humber Hawks (11-1-2)
The stage was set for an intense OCAA final as rivals Sheridan Bruins and Humber Hawks took the field on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Humber took the lead early after forward Tomasz Balicki scored in the 23rd minute.
Sheridan responded quickly after Richard Ameyaw tied the game in the 33rd minute. Both teams would continue to apply pressure until the end of the first half.
Humber eventually broke through the Sheridan defence when a Nicholas Machado header gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead in the 59th minute.
Humber would hold off the Bruins’ aggression to close out the 2018 seasons as OCAA men’s soccer champions.
Although the result was unfortunate, Sheridan Bruins athletic director Jim Flack had nothing but praise for the men’s squad.
“I am very pleased with the men’s team performance,” he said. “You can’t always be the gold medalist, but the intensity and effort our team showed through all four playoff games were truly representative of what we want from a Sheridan team.”
This was the first time since the 2011-2012 season that Sheridan made the OCAA finals, where they also placed 2nd.
The Sheridan Bruins women’s soccer team also had their own playoff journey, although it came to a quick finish.
OCAA Women’s Soccer Qualifier
Sheridan Bruins (8-3-0) 1 – 2 St. Clair Saints (4-5-2)
The St. Clair Saints came into Oakville as the underdog in the OCAA qualifier. They did not let that stop them from taking the win and stunning the Bruins.
After 14 minutes the game was tied after Zoe Derkach nailed the equalizer. Just six minutes later St. Clair would respond with the eventual game-winning goal.
The Bruins finished the regular season at 8-2-0 and did not qualify for the OCAA championship.
Paul Angelini, head coach of the Sheridan women’s soccer team was dissatisfied with the result.
“Extremely disappointing,” Angelini said. “We were down 1-0 in the first 7 minutes. In the end, we didn’t play our style of soccer until the last 12 minutes and that when we dominated the game. But, soccer is a 90-minute game—you must play your best for 90 minutes, not 12.”
Derkach matched the single-season Sheridan goal record at 11 goals on the season.
“We are very proud of Zoe,” said Flack. “We all recognize that we had a great year. But we are all in agreement that we need more offensive firepower if we are to make a solid playoff run.”
With the 2018 season coming to a close both Flack and Angelini had a special message for any aspiring student-athletes wanting to join the Bruins in the future.
“For any student-athlete that wants to play on our team, they need to understand that being a Bruin is not a ‘sometimes’ thing,” said Flack. “It requires a training program that runs 52 weeks a year. It requires focus and dedication. And, most of all, it requires a commitment to long-term academic success.”
Angelini focused on what a student should do to be ready for post-secondary athletics. “Contact the coaches in advance and meet them personally and get a tour of the academic and athletic buildings. Arrange a “Shadow Day” with a varsity athlete and follow them for a day to all their classes. This will allow you to get a more complete understanding of your program of choice. Finally, if Sheridan is your choice, show up in proper cardio-vascular fitness! The game at this level is faster, quicker and the players are older and stronger.”