TRURO - There's no better time to play your best than when your season hangs in the balance.
The Cobequid Cougars dominated the Lockview Dragons in the first half of their high school girls soccer provincial qualifier Thursday at CEC Field and went on to a 1-0 victory. The Cougars move on to a second qualifying match Saturday in Sydney against the Riverview Reds with the winner moving on to the provincial championship next weekend.
"We worked hard all year for it," keeper Ashley Morrell said. "Some people didn't think we would win this game so it's really good to win."
The victory helps the Cougars rebound from a devastating 2-1 loss to the Dr. John Hugh Gillis Royals in last week's Northumberland Region final, which forced the Cougars to play the two qualifying matches. But the setback also lit a fire under the Cougars apparent from the opening whistle Thursday. Cobequid swarmed the Lockview goal with scoring chance after scoring chance while also looking after things in their own end, allowing just two shots for Morrell to stop in the first half.
"They've got some top quality players on their team and for us to have a first half like we did is quite remarkable," coach Trevor Gordon said. "We didn't want it to be the end of our season."
Cobequid scored about 20 minutes into the match, but the marker was called back after officials talked about the play and ruled it offside. The call didn't phase the Cougars and Alea Power hit the net just 10 minutes later to give the Cougars the lead.
"We played the way we know how and we just kept moving the ball and we worked as a team," Morrell said.
It'll take the same determined style of play to be successful Saturday against an always-strong Riverview squad.
"I think if we keep playing our game and keep playing how we can that we can get through," she said.
The Cougars junior varsity girls squad is gunning for a provincial title today on home turf.
The Cougars, who recently won the Northumberland region title to earn the right to host this weekend's tournament, open at 3:45 p.m. at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus field against the Riverview Reds. A victory would send the Cougars to Saturday's gold medal match at 10:30 a.m. at CEC. Today's losers play for bronze at 10 a.m. at Dalhousie.
The Citadel Phoenix and Park View Panthers are also competing for the title.