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‘We’ll take it’


TRURO – In 16 years of coaching high school soccer, Hans Budgey had never seen an own goal decide a championship game in overtime.

Until today. 

Budgey jogged from the sidelines as the young Dr. JH Gillis Royals goalkeeper fell to his knees and stared blankly down the field. The veteran coach ran towards the dog pile his team had formed in the offensive end as they celebrated another Northumberland Regional win. But he didn’t stop to celebrate with his CEC Cougars team. He kept jogging towards the net, eventually stopping to kneel beside the opposing keeper.

With a hand on his shoulder, Budgey gave the kid some words of encouragement.

“You played a great game, fluky goals happen,” he told him. “Don’t ever think that’s something to do with you. That’s just the run of play.”

In a deadlocked, scoreless game, everybody on the pitch knew it would come down to something weird. Nobody could have foreseen what actually happened.

With the Cougars pressuring in the second overtime half, a Royals defender rushed back to play a loose ball. With a man on his back, he kicked it towards his own goalie, Paddy Wallace. Unfortunately, Wallace was running up to play the ball himself. He hit he brakes and leaned to the side, but couldn’t get a hand on it. Several Royals gave chase, but it was too late.

A hard fought game – a championship game – came down to a crucial mistake in the bitter cold.

“We barely got it, but it counts,” said Cougars senior Nathan Smith. “It feels pretty great. You feel bad for them, but it’s a win.”

On the bench, head coach Jay Foster was anxiously awaiting the final play to come.

“I was hoping it wouldn’t be a fluke,” he said. “It was a scrappy game and a bumpy pitch and it wasn’t real pretty soccer. But the intensity is just awesome with all that crazy stuff.”

The Cougars started strong but got away from their game plan, resorting to a boot and chase style of game. The Royals stayed in contention despite rarely sustaining pressure inside the offensive half. The Cougars, meanwhile, struggled to get balls to the net and hit a post and a crossbar on their two best chances in the second half. Both teams played to a scoreless 15-minute OT half, before the own goal in the second 15-minutes.

With the win, CEC clinches a spot in provincials on home field. Since they are hosting provincials and won the regional banner, they won’t need to play a qualifier. Dr. JH Gillis will move on to a six-team qualifying tournament, with the top three joining the Cougars in Truro.

While he may have never seen an ending like it before, Budgey won’t soon forget the look on Wallace’s face as he placed his hand on his shoulder.

“He did a great job and played a great game, and I wanted him to know that. I think he appreciated hearing it, but it’s always hard to take. They wear their hearts on their sleeves.”

 

Until today. 

Budgey jogged from the sidelines as the young Dr. JH Gillis Royals goalkeeper fell to his knees and stared blankly down the field. The veteran coach ran towards the dog pile his team had formed in the offensive end as they celebrated another Northumberland Regional win. But he didn’t stop to celebrate with his CEC Cougars team. He kept jogging towards the net, eventually stopping to kneel beside the opposing keeper.

With a hand on his shoulder, Budgey gave the kid some words of encouragement.

“You played a great game, fluky goals happen,” he told him. “Don’t ever think that’s something to do with you. That’s just the run of play.”

In a deadlocked, scoreless game, everybody on the pitch knew it would come down to something weird. Nobody could have foreseen what actually happened.

With the Cougars pressuring in the second overtime half, a Royals defender rushed back to play a loose ball. With a man on his back, he kicked it towards his own goalie, Paddy Wallace. Unfortunately, Wallace was running up to play the ball himself. He hit he brakes and leaned to the side, but couldn’t get a hand on it. Several Royals gave chase, but it was too late.

A hard fought game – a championship game – came down to a crucial mistake in the bitter cold.

“We barely got it, but it counts,” said Cougars senior Nathan Smith. “It feels pretty great. You feel bad for them, but it’s a win.”

On the bench, head coach Jay Foster was anxiously awaiting the final play to come.

“I was hoping it wouldn’t be a fluke,” he said. “It was a scrappy game and a bumpy pitch and it wasn’t real pretty soccer. But the intensity is just awesome with all that crazy stuff.”

The Cougars started strong but got away from their game plan, resorting to a boot and chase style of game. The Royals stayed in contention despite rarely sustaining pressure inside the offensive half. The Cougars, meanwhile, struggled to get balls to the net and hit a post and a crossbar on their two best chances in the second half. Both teams played to a scoreless 15-minute OT half, before the own goal in the second 15-minutes.

With the win, CEC clinches a spot in provincials on home field. Since they are hosting provincials and won the regional banner, they won’t need to play a qualifier. Dr. JH Gillis will move on to a six-team qualifying tournament, with the top three joining the Cougars in Truro.

While he may have never seen an ending like it before, Budgey won’t soon forget the look on Wallace’s face as he placed his hand on his shoulder.

“He did a great job and played a great game, and I wanted him to know that. I think he appreciated hearing it, but it’s always hard to take. They wear their hearts on their sleeves.”

 

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