George McDougall Mustangs take home silver
Same teams, same score, same prize on the line.
The George McDougall Mustangs were handed another heartbreaking loss in the Rocky View Sports Association’s (RVSA) boys soccer gold medal final, as they were defeated 3-2 in extra time by the Cochrane Cobras, May 24.
Thanks to a shaky start and a late regulation goal from the Cobras, the Mustangs had to settle for another silver medal.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the guys,” said Mustangs Head Coach Brian DeGuiseppe.
“They worked really hard, especially when they dominated in the second half. It was a tough one, but they played really well.”
It’s the second consecutive title for the Cobras and a flashback to 2011. The team defeated the Mustangs 3-2 last year in penalty kicks to win gold.
This year, Matt Hood scored first for the Cobras on a free kick, which deflected in off Mustangs’ keeper Kyle Madsen. The Cobras held onto the one-goal lead until midway through the second half. Chris Sanchez tied the game for George Mac and Oliver Proic scored shortly after to give the team a 2-1 lead.
Just as it looked like the Mustangs’ comeback would stand and give them the gold medal, Cobras’ co-captain Eric Patterson scored off a corner kick to tie the game with 30 seconds left.
Shortly after George McDougall’s Matt Wagner narrowly missed on a shot that sailed just over the net, Nash Hayward scored the game winner for the Cobras in the second half of overtime.
“I think (we were nervous),” said DeGiuseppe. “I think guys weren’t playing their game and doing things pretty uncharacteristic of them. We were lucky to be down one given the way we were playing. In the second half, we tried to calm them down and get them to play smart, intelligent soccer. We had a great second half and we dominated play.”
According to Carolyn McLeod, Cobras head coach, scoring first was one of the Cobras’ priorities.
“That’s what we said in the beginning,” she said. “That’s what we did to Bert Church (last game). We scored on them right away and it really took the wind out of their sails. You’d be surprised how much it knocks a team down and it did. We could see that George Mac was deflating.”
After losing their lead to the two back-to-back Mustang goals, the momentum began to shift away from the Cobras. For McLeod, the challenge was turning the team’s focus back to the game plan and keeping their frustration at bay.
The team also got a lesson in the old adage “play until the whistle blows” with the last-minute goal that tied the game. Patterson summed up the game with a single adjective.
“It was scary,” he said.
For Patterson, along with many of his teammates, the gold medal game was the last of their high school career, making the win more special.
It was another aspect of the game that the team was focusing on, according to McLeod.
“It was huge for them,” she said.
“We (told them) to leave it all out there and play their hearts out and they did. George Mac is a really hard team and very skilled, so I think (the boys) deserved the win.”
The South Central Zone tournament, will be held in Canmore, June 8. For the Mustangs, it will be a chance for redemption while the Cobras will attempt to add another title to their season.