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BEND IT LIKE BRANDON: HUSKIES PUT FORWARD MUCH IMPROVED EFFORT AT UTM INVITATIONAL

A defender for the varsity men's outdoor soccer squad, Brandon Medeiros (15) proved to be GBC's offensive catalyst at the UTM Invitational.
Brandon Medeiros

George Brown's extramural co-ed indoor soccer team put forward an effort it could be proud of at the UTM Invitational, finishing group play with a 1-1-1 record.

The squad's first opponent was that oldest of foes, Humber College. While Humber Lakeshore held the possession edge, the vast majority of it was to the outside, and the Huskies were diligent about denying passing lanes and keeping sound defensive shape.

Brandon Medeiros, a defender with George Brown's varsity men's soccer team during the outdoor season, proved to be the Huskies' offensive catalyst and looked dangerous throughout both the match and the tournament.

With Stephen Hoi Cung Hnin providing a steadying presence as goalkeeper in game one, the Huskies held a 2-1 lead late. Unfortunately, Humber knotted things up with just two minutes to go, a deadlock which remained until the final whistle.

Despite a prolonged break between games one and two, George Brown bounced back from a tie in the former to win convincingly in the latter.

Taking on Seneca King, the Huskies scored less than two minutes into the first half with a goal from Medeiros, who would go on to double George Brown's lead 4:29 minutes into the second half. Zeyad Qasem would post an additional goal and an assist, as the Huskies cruised to a 4-0 victory.

George Brown's final round robin match against UTSC presented its toughest challenge. After withstanding intense pressure, the Huskies saw their opponents finally break through less than two minutes into the second half. Though Qasem made it a 1-1 game with just over five minutes to go, UTSC responded just 74 seconds later to retake the lead.

The closing minutes were a tense affair for both squads, with UTSC playing a man short due to penalty trouble. Multiple Huskies scoring opportunities ensued, but none which found the back of the net, and UTSC survived to take the W and end George Brown's tournament.

Even though his side fell short of the semifinals, head coach Jesse Oliver said that in terms of both results and quality of play, George Brown's performance was much better from prior outings. Surveying the tourney's other entrants, that improvement from previous experience came even in the face of some stiff competition.

"Varsity's a lot more intensive, but soccer's soccer," Medeiros remarked. "The sport's good at any level, and there was some good competition out here today."

For Medeiros, the day was a change of pace from when he usually wears the Huskies uniform. Counted on as a steady backend presence at the varsity level, the defender took full advantage of the opportunity to play a more prominent offensive role.

"It was nice to play with all the players, and it was obviously nice to score a couple because I'm not usually a goalscorer," said Medeiros, who tallied three of George Brown's seven goals and assisted Qasem's lone marker against UTSC. "But I was more happy just to get the results we did in the beginning."

Of course, the day didn't only feature Huskies soccer mainstays, even if Medeiros wasn't the only varsity athlete present. Joining him on the squad was women's basketball athlete Kiyann Grimaldo, who enjoyed the step-down in pressure from her varsity sport.

"It was fun, it was eventful, and although it was competitive, it was a great experience," said Grimaldo. "This was my first time participating in an extramural sport, so to experience it was good."

As opposed to varsity, where going home early might be cause for consternation and a hard practice or two, George Brown was still able to take away a fulfilling experience of competitive fun. In other words, exactly what extramurals is all about.

"The level is a bit different, but at the end of the day everyone wants to win," said Oliver, a varsity athlete himself, when comparing and contrasting the two experiences. "More fun, the difference is. They have more fun, and they try to make the best of the day."

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For photos from the UTM Invitational tournament, click here