By Alex Figliomeni
The Humber Hawks came home with gold around their necks.
The Men’s soccer team captured the 2018 national championship this past weekend, winning the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) tournament. It’s the highest tournament and honors the Humber team can achieve.
The CCAA tournament ran from Nov. 7-10th. Holland College hosted the tournament in Prince Edward Island.
The Hawks defeated Ahuntsic College in the CCAA final, a Quebec school, 1-0 in regulation. They played three matches. Against Langara College in the quarter-final, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in the semi-final, and Ahuntsic College in the final. Each game was a tough fought battle — but the Hawks were victorious.
It’s Humber’s seventh CCAA national title and the fifth since 2012. The CCAA is an association with 94 institutions, which includes colleges, universities, technical institutes, and Cegeps in eight provinces and regionally governed by five-member conferences.
THE JOURNEY TO GOLD
The Hawks won the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) championship Oct. 27. They defeated rival Sheridan 2-1 in the final.
The Hawks played their regular season in the OCAA conference, finishing the regular season with a record of 7-1-2. They played Sheridan twice in the regular season drawing both games; 2-2 and 1-1.
It’s Humber’s 12th OCAA championship title, passing Algonquin for the most in history. They have won 23 OCAA medals, second-most all-time in history. Head coach Mike Aquino improved to 16-2 in postseason play.
Humber scored first in the 23rd minute. Forward Tomasz Balicki scored a header in the box. Sheridan’s Richard Ameyaw tied the game in the 33rd minute, on a shot from 20 yards out. At halftime, the score was 1-1.
In the 59th minute, Hawks Nicholas Machado scored a header, giving Humber the 2-1 lead. Machado’s header proved to be the deciding goal, and the Hawks would hold on to win 2-1.
All-Canadian Hawks Jaineil Hoilett was named the Championship MVP after recording two goals and three assists during the OCAA tournament.
The Hawks opened the CCAA national finals on Nov. 7.
The first matchup was against Langara Falcons in the quarterfinals. Langara competed in the tough PACWEST conference and finished third in the PACWEST with a 3-7-2 record.
The Hawks would defeat Langara on penalty kicks (4-3) after a 1-1 draw in regulation time.
Humber began the first-half dominating possession, but it didn’t show on the score sheet. Langara scored the first goal, and the Hawks trailed 1-0 at halftime.
Jaineil Hoilett was taken down in the box in the 65th minute. They awarded the Hawks a penalty kick and Federico Leal scored to tie the match at one.
After 90 minutes of play, the match went into penalty kicks. Hawks Michael Fayehun, Jainel Hoilett, and Cody Green scored their penalty shots, and Hawks Stavros Badunas scored in the eighth round, capturing the win for the Hawks.
Next up was the semifinal game vs. NAIT on Nov. 8.
The Hawks defeated NAIT on penalty kicks (5-4) after a 3-3 draw in regulation. The game was a thriller and could go down in history as one of the most exciting games in CCAA history.
The Hawks were up 2-0 twenty minutes into the game. The Hawks got into trouble when a NAIT shot hit the hand of a Hawks defender. The ref called it a handball, gave a straight red card which sent the Hawks defender out of the game. NAIT would score on that penalty kick.
The Hawks were up 2-1 but were now down a man.
NAIT would then tie the match in the 83rd minute, scoring on a free kick that found the top left corner of the net. In the final minute of regulation, NAIT scored a penalty shot, to give NAIT their first lead of the match.
Instead of hanging their heads in disappointment and conceding the loss, the Hawks rallied with just a few minutes left — in search of the tying goal.
With almost no time left, a long throw-in from Hawks Cody Green found the head of Hawks Stavros Badunas, scoring the equalizer as time expired.
The score was tied up 3-3 and headed to penalty kicks.
In penalty shots, Hawks keeper Karman Singh made an incredible diving save in the first round, which was all Humber needed. All five kickers for the Hawks scored. Jordan Piccinin, Federico Leal, Jaineil Hoilett, Luca Baldassarre, and Cody Green all converted their penalty shots. It now set them to face Ahuntsic in the CCAA finals on Nov. 10th.
Ahuntsic ranked No. 3 in the CCAA. Humber and Ahuntsic had never met in the CCAA tournament but played a friendly in Montreal in August. They set the CCAA final at the Terry Fox SportsPlex in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island.
The Hawks would beat Ahuntsic to claim the national title. Riley Ferrazzo of the Hawks scored the games only goal, which would seal the 1-0 win.
The Hawks defense were the star’s of the game, giving Ahuntsic zero scoring opportunities. Humber’s Jaineil Hoilett became the sixth Humber player all-time to be named the CCAA championship MVP. Hoilett received the OCAA and CCAA MVP.
The victory gave Hawks their 50th CCAA national title. They became the first school to reach that mark. It makes Humber men’s soccer the most decorated program in CCAA soccer history, becoming the first team to win seven national titles.
Hawks improved to 7-1 all-time in the championship game and have won 16 straight matches. The Hawks move past Capilano University (Vancouver B.C.) for most national titles in CCAA men’s soccer history.