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SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS SEE GEORGE BROWN SQUADS FALL TO HUMBER

Michael Whelan 1

Weather-wise, Wednesday evening was a cold, rainy and somewhat dreary affair. While George Brown's performance on the field was nowhere near as bleak as the conditions, neither Huskies squad was able to come away with the W against the Humber Hawks.

On the men's side, the meeting of nationally ranked teams saw No. 1 Humber edge their central division rivals George Brown by a 2-0 score.

The match started with an even greater back and forth feel to it than their last meeting on Sept. 27. After Humber capitalized in the 11th minute, the two sides exchanged blows, with George Brown sending five shots towards Hawks keeper Nick Frenati before the half was through.

Despite some glorious Huskies chances, including a goal line clear and dangerous curve from captain Jesse Oliver, it was Humber which scored again right on the cusp of halftime. With three players caught out of position, forward Luca Baldassarre took advantage of his opportunity down the middle to give the hosts a 2-0 lead at the 45th minute.

"We made some bad decisions and it cost us," said Huskies head coach John Williams. "You don't get scored on in the 45th minute... You've got to take care of the middle of the field and we didn't do a good enough job handling that."

Just as on Sept. 27, Humber and George Brown made clear that there's no love lost between the two. It's an enmity which makes for entertaining soccer, with quality chances on both sides. If there was a difference on Wednesday, it was the Huskies lacking that last bit of lethality needed to break through against the only team able to beat them this season.

"When we played the ball forward, we had them under pressure but our final distribution, our final pass just wasn't smart enough or creative enough," Williams said. "We'll have to work on that, and I think that comes from a little bit of composure and confidence."

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On the women's side, George Brown put forward one of if not their best defensive showing this season in the first half, before fading down the stretch.

The Huskies found success against Humber in part by effectively employing the offside trap, an especially impressive feat given the Hawks capable offence. The hosts were called for 11 offsides in the first half alone, much to the Hawks visible frustration.

Though George Brown went into the half down 2-0, neither goal was one to hang their heads over. A brilliant header and nasty hop saw Humber with the lead, but in terms of structure, building from the back and playing out to low-danger areas of the field, the Huskies performance was remarkable.

Unfortunately, injuries and fatigue took their toll come the second half. Already without co-captain Effie Takas to start the match, the Huskies saw both defender Nicole McKenzie and midfielder Melanie Retz go down due to injury. Similar to the men's tilt, Humber capitalized on mistakes down the middle on their way to the eventual 6-0 final score.

"We broke down a little bit, and once Humber got in there, it was hard for us to patch that crack back up," said George Brown keeper Kelsey-Jane Lamprecht. "Our mental toughness wasn't quite where it should be."

George Brown now has a chance to finish strong, with games against Sheridan and UTM on Oct. 13 and Oct. 18, respectively. The Huskies put forward two of their better efforts against said opponents earlier in the season, with a 2-1 win against UTM and heartbreaking 2-1 loss against Sheridan.

In a continuance of Lamprecht's point on mental toughness, whether or not the squad comes away with two W's will largely depend on their ability to bounce back and win the battle between the ears.

"You can see we can play with most of these teams," said Williams. "It's a case where they've got to believe in themselves, and they've got to believe that they can manage the ball a little bit better. When we manage the ball, we can play with anybody."