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In an attempt to face a challenging opponent before the start of the Big Ten schedule, Michigan invited five-time defending Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Champion Humber College of Ontario to Ann Arbor, Mich. on Friday night. What head coach Brandon Sparks’ club received was a 34-0 drumming by a very technically-sound squad from Toronto.
“In the first half, we were able to hang with them by playing hard defense,” Sparks said. “Unfortunately, the rust of the summer and our inability to convert easy two-on-ones cost us badly throughout the game, which gifted a large portion of the possession to them. [We played] well, but not great. We made too many simple handling errors, missed simple assignments in defense and set pieces. I'm willing to contribute it to it being the first run out of the season, but don't get it confused, we all know there is work to do.”
Humber took advantage of their opportunities to mount a 12-0 lead at half before completing the 34-0 shutout. Led by potential canadian National team player and Captain John Sheridan the Hawks shredded the Michigan defense for a total of six tries. Sheridan contributed with two tries, and eightman Steve Fievet, lock Conner McLoughlin, wing Caleb Pilz, and scrumhalf Alex McCallion each scored. Sheridan helped his own cause with two conversions and fullback Nick Manoukas slotted one more.
In coming to the States to play a national program in Michigan, Humber head coach Fabian Rayne said, “We didn’t know what to expect. Obviously, they are a big school as University of Michigan, Division I. Going down there, I knew they were going to be strong, big, American boys. They were exactly that. We’re pretty good and also quite skilled. It just went our way, but they played really hard, really physical. We kept pressing on them and popped a few through then it opened up in the second half.
Both clubs used the match as a learning experience. “It was the perfect match-up,” Sparks stated. “We didn't want a cupcake, and we didn't get one. They exposed some glaring weaknesses that now will allow us to address on the training pitch.” Rayne added that, “it was a great opportunity and learning experience for our boys at Humber to play a nationally recognized university program in the U.S. and come out with a convincing win.”
This season, Humber will attempt to repeat as champions for a sixth time which has not been accomplished before. Their first test will be against Conestoga Sept. 14th.
As for Michigan, the Wolverines have a tough competitive schedule ahead of them. Next weekend they will travel to play Notre Dame before their first conference match at Michigan State on September 26th.