Colchester squads salvage medals after missing out on gold
TRURO - The Cobequid Cougars were determined not to leave provincials empty handed.
Members of the Cobequid Cougars swarm teammate Mike vanderpoel after he scored the winning goal in extra time in a 5-4 victory over the Citadel Phoenix in Saturday's bronze medal match at the NSSAF Division 1 boys soccer championship in Coxheath. vanderpoel danced through several Phoenix defenders to score the pretty tally. The South Colchester Wolves also won bronze on the weekend at the Division 3 girls championship in New Germany. Submitted photo
And they didn't.
The Cougars nabbed the bronze medal at the NSSAF Division 1 boys soccer championship on the weekend in Coxheath with a 5-4 victory in overtime over the Citadel Phoenix.
"It feels pretty good," Cougars co-captain Charlie Hunter said. "The gold would have been nice, but we'll take bronze. It still means a lot."
Cobequid, which went undefeated all season with a 14-0-1 record, had its sights set on gold entering the tournament. But a 2-1 loss to the defending, and eventual, champion Halifax West Warriors on Friday pushed the Cougars into the bronze-medal game.
Hunter will add the medal to the silver he won last month with Halifax City at the Canadian championship in Newfoundland.
"We really wanted to win that game," Hunter, an 18-year-old Lower Harmony resident said of Saturday's match. "We didn't want to come away empty handed. A bronze-medal game is still a big deal and it meant a lot to us."
It showed early as the Cougars built a 3-0 lead. But the Phoenix fought back to tie the game. Cobequid regained a 4-3 lead before Citadel sent the game to extra time with five minutes remaining.
"We had lost all the momentum we had," Cougars coach Jay Foster said.
Then striker Mike vanderpoel worked some magic. With the ball in the corner, the North River resident managed to slice through several Citadel players before putting the ball in the top corner to win the game.
"The other two teams were there waiting to start the final so there was a lot of people there and everyone was amazed," Foster said. "It was one of the nicest goals you'll ever see scored in high school soccer."
Ben Gorringe scored three times for Cobequid while vanderpoel also struck in regulation. Andreas Foerster was the winning keeper.
But Foster said the loss to Halifax West, who went on to dblank the host Riverview Reds 3-0 in the final, was still stinging on Sunday, mainly because he thought his team could have gotten to the final.
"We had the horses to do it," he said. "It really could have gone either way."
Nonetheless, Foster said he was more than pleased with the season his team, which loses seven players to graduation, was able to put together.
"We only lost one game all year," he said. "We had a fantastic season and almost every other team in the province would gladly trade places with us."
The South Colchester Wolves also claimed bronze at the Division 3 girls championship in New Germany thanks to a 7-3 victory over Dalbrae Academy in the consolation final.
"It feels really good," senior striker Kylee Graham said. "I'm proud of my team and it's a nice way to finish off our season, a strong season."
Karlee Burgess and Rachel Sears each scored three times for the Wolves and Haley Duykers notched the other marker. Erica Robertson was in the net.
Like the Cougars, the Wolves were also optimistic about their chances entering the tournament after rolling through their season undefeated. But they were handed their first loss in Friday's semifinal in a 7-4 setback to Ecole du Carrefour, relegating South Colchester to the bronze match.
Ecole du Carrefour went on to win the title with a 9-4 win over host New Germany.
After the Wolves knotted the game 1-1, Dalbrae stretched out a 3-1 lead and held a 3-2 cushion at half time. Then South Colchester turned it on, burying four second-half goals to put the game out of reach.
Graham, a 17-year-old Eastville resident, said a little motivational talk from coach Kelly Spencer at half time woke the Wolves up.
"He just reminded us it was our last game, our last half and that he believed we could play better," Graham said. "We wanted to finish the season strong."
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