After playing six games in three days, our UTM Eagles placed third overall at the OCAA Provincial Championships for men’s indoor soccer, held at Redeemer College. Beginning on March 22 and ending on March 24, the men demonstrated incredible determination and unity which garnered their success this indoor season.

The men started off the provincial tournament with a game against the Conestoga Condors. The men dominated the entire game and were given countless scoring opportunities, but could not seem to bury any in the back of the net. The first game resulted in a 0-0 tie—a decent start to the tournament. The second game of the day was against the George Brown Huskies. Within the first three minutes, UTM’s goalkeeper, Aaron Peters, throws the ball passed half to teammate Zimba Galloway, where he faked the goalie and scored bottom-right corner, putting UTM in the lead. Immediately after this goal, rookie player Adam Czerkawski scored, making the score 2-0 within the first five minutes of the game. Despite George Brown conceding two goals early on, they continued to battle which lead them to scoring their first goal. A powerful shot to the top-left corner made the score sit at 2-1. Throughout the game, the George Brown goalkeeper was notorious for coming too far out of his net. UTM’s Juan Prieto punished the goalie by accurately placing the ball into the net from half. George Brown did not let the two-goal lead hold them back and less than two minutes later, they scored their second goal of the game. During the last two minutes of the game, the George Brown goalie got caught too far out of his net once again resulting in another UTM goal, but this time by Damian Koscielniak. The Eagles took the game 4-2.

The second day of provincials was not as successful as the first with the men tying both games. The first game was against the Durham College Lords where UTM was first to score. This was, however, followed by a goal from Durham which kept the game tied at 1-1. Although UTM made some costly mistakes, Galloway still managed to score another one for his team. This was unfortunately followed by another goal by Durham resulting in their second tie of the tournament at 2-2. Their fourth game of the tournament was against host team, the Redeemer Royals. This game ended in a 1-1 tie with Pietro scoring his second goal of the tournament by a perfectly placed ball by Josh Iskra, where Pietro one-timed it into the net. UTM finished second in their group, advancing them to the semi-finals against the Humber Hawks.

The game against Humber started off intense, with both teams clearly wanting to win and make it to the final game. With three minutes left in the first-half, a UTM defensive breakdown allowed the first goal of the game to be awarded to Humber. The second-half started off well for both sides. UTM was pressing the Humber defense which finally lead to a goal by Ben Haidara. The game was then tied at 1-1 with a possibility of going into overtime. Unfortunately for UTM, another defensive mistake resulted in a second Humber goal off of a corner kick. Despite their efforts, UTM was not able to tie it back up. Although this meant that UTM would not be advancing to the final game, they still did not come home empty handed. The men had a chance to win the third place title which they did deservingly. In their final game of the tournament they played the Seneca College Sting. The first goal was scored halfway into the first half by UTM defender, Daniel Koszela. Three minutes into the second half, Galloway gets his third goal of the tournament from a pass by Haidara. Galloway then set up midfielder, Phillippe Contreras, which was followed by a final goal by Jaimin Rehal. The game ended 4-0 for UTM.

Although this was not the ideal result UTM wanted, the men should be very proud of their efforts. They showed resilience, determination, and a strong team bond throughout the entire tournament. Our UTM Eagles are now the third best team in Ontario for men’s indoor soccer.