The Bryns got it done.
In the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) championship game Oct. 24, Bryn White and Bryn Barrett scored to propel the Cochrane Cobras girls’ soccer team to a 2-1 victory over the Springbank Phoenix, at Monklands Park, in Airdrie.
The gold-medal win defended the Cobras’ soccer title from 2018, when the team went unbeaten.
“It was an unbelievable finish,” said Cobras co-coach Carolyn McLeod. “We knew it was going to be a tough game – we’re really similar to that team, so it could have gone either way.
“This was the third time we played them, and we had won one and lost one, so we really didn’t know how it was going to go.”
White scored a goal in the first five minutes to put Cochrane in front, and the team managed to hold onto the lead until the halftime break.
“That’s where we started pushing – we had to set the tone for the rest of the game and keep that intensity up,” said captain Ella Nugent, a Grade-12 centre back. “At half time, we were all a bit nervous, but ready to go.
“As the game went on, I told the girls we needed to keep the intensity high, keep working and keep pushing.”
Springbank found an equalizer early into the second half through Kianna Averill, but Cochrane responded just two minutes later, when Barrett scored to restore the Cobras’ lead.
“That second goal, we all came together,” Nugent said. “I told the girls it was now or never. We all looked at each other and said, ‘This is it. It’s the last game and we have to push.’ Right away, Bryn Barrett just took it and went.”
The Phoenix battled valiantly to try and score a second, but Cochrane managed to hold on for the win.
“There’s some disappointment, but it was a great game and an even match-up,” said Springbank’s head coach, Heather Laurie.
“The girls played with heart, and that’s all that mattered to me. I’m just happy they enjoyed the season and improved from last year.”
While Cochrane ultimately came out on top, Springbank had dominated the regular season, winning all five of its games by a combined score of 46-3. The Phoenix had ousted the Cobras 4-1 during the regular season, ending an unbeaten run in the RVSA the Cochranites had enjoyed since 2017.
The Phoenix won its semi-final 4-0 against the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers Oct. 22, while the Cobras earned its berth in the gold-medal game with a 3-0 victory over the Bert Church Chargers.
“We beat basically every single team by a lot of goals, but coming down to the last few games, we were tired and missing some of our players,” said Eleni Georgacacos, a Grade-9 Phoenix attacking midfielder. “But we had a great season, overall.”
Away from the RVSA, the Cobras finished runner-up in the South Central Zones Tier 1 tournament, losing in the final to the Holy Trinity Academy Knights, of Okotoks. The Phoenix finished third in that tourney, after losing to the Cobras 1-0 in the semi-final.
According to McLeod, the Cobras’ success this year came down to the high number of players on competitive club soccer teams in Calgary.
“Both teams have a significant number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 players who are playing outside of our program and dedicating a ton of their time to the sport,” she said.
“They’re well-coached, well-trained, fit and feisty – and they have a beautiful touch on the ball that only comes from lots of practice.”