Cobequid boys earn bye to regional final, girls off to semi
Olivia MacPhee, left, of the Cobequid Cougars battles for the ball with a Dr. John Hugh Gillis Royals player Thursday in high school girls soccer action. The teams battled to a 1-1 draw clinching top spot in the region for the Royals while the Cougars finish in second place. Matthew Veno – Truro Daily News
TRURO – Things looked to be going just as planned for the Cobequid Cougars.
But the Dr. John Hugh Gillis Royals foiled that plan Thursday in what was the final regular season high school girls soccer match for the two sides.
The Royals scored in the 73rd minute to snatch the momentum and salvage a 1-1 draw at CEC Field, clinching first place and earning themselves a bye to the Northumberland Region final.
“We outplayed them in the first half but we just didn’t finish and that’s what we need to do,” Cougars co-captain Chloe Lauther said.
Coming into the contest with a 2-1 record, the Cougars had their sights set on snatching first place from the 3-0 Royals. All they had to do was win by a three-goal cushion to give themselves the edge in the tiebreaker as both teams would have been 3-1.
The Cougars went to work from the opening whistle and rookie Ashley Higgins pounded home the go-ahead tally in the 34th minute. The goal only seemed to rattle the sputtering Royals more as the Cougars controlled the pace in the opening 45 minutes.
“At half time we felt we could get a 3-0 win,” Cougars coach Trevor Gordon said.
But it all changed with the Royals’ equalizer after the ball was sent into the Cobequid area and knocked in on a goalmouth scramble.
“It kind of deflated us a bit because we knew we had to get three more after that,” Gordon said.
The Cougars managed to generate more scoring chances as the minutes ticked away but could bury nothing more into the opposing goal.
The result means the Cougars will have to get through the North Nova Gryphons in the Northumberland Region semifinal on Oct. 10 to get another crack at the Royals and a regional title.
“We definitely have to improve our offence,” co-captain Alea Power said. “We have to move the ball around more and get more shots on the net.”
The Cougars boys squad clinched top spot in the region Thursday thanks to a 3-1 victory over the Royals in Antigonish.
The win gives Cobequid a bye to the Northumberland Region final, which will be held at CEC Field Oct. 17. The Cougars, who still have a regular season game left on Tuesday at North Nova, will face the winner of a semifinal between the No. 2 seeded Royals and No. 3 Gryphons.
Mike Vanderpoel opened the scoring for the Cougars in the 30th minute before Ben Gorringe struck for a pair of goals in the 60th and 68th. The Royals pulled one back with 10 minutes remaining.
Cougars coach Jay Foster was, naturally, happy with the result.
“It took a long time to create a lot of pressure and put the game away,” Foster said. “But it was nice to get the win and good to clinch the No. 1 seed and to beat them there is always big.”
The win pushes the Cougars to 3-0 while the Royals fall to 2-2.
Foster said the win is especially important because of the new playoff format in the region this season. Teams will play in single-match showdowns instead of the traditional format of two-game, total-goal series.
“So we’ll play a one-game final here and that’s big because we don’t have to travel there and we have a good home record.”
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