Entering the men’s indoor soccer provincial championship, few thought of the Redeemer Royals as a gold medal contender. Considering they had never won a gold medal in this sport or any other men’s sport in Ontario Colleges Athletic Association play, who would argue?
But that all changed as the Royals pulled off the near impossible, ousting not only the defending champion George Brown Huskies in the semi-final, but also coming back to defeat the defending silver medalists, Humber Hawks, in the championship final after losing to them 2-0 in pool play to claim the title.
The Championship game was very closely played and at the end of regulation the score remained deadlocked at one goal a piece. Still tied at the end of the first overtime session, the match moved into the ever popular penalty kicks where Redeemer’s goal keeper, Nathan Ayer, proved why he was the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, steering away the Hawks shots to claim his school’s first championship title.
Redeemer’s Jon Vanderheiden was also named to the tournament all-star team.
In the bronze medal game, the Huskies relied on their experience of playing in high pressure situations to defeat a determined and feisty Conestoga Condor team 1-0 in a shoot out. Enroute to the crown, Redeemer downed Seneca, 1-0; blanked Fleming, 2-1; and stopped George Brown, 1-0.
Ayer’s performance earned him OCAA male athlete of the week honours. Ayer posted an impressive 4-1 record in the tournament. In each of the Royal wins, Ayer was instrumental as each of their wins came with only a one goal difference.