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Matt Veno
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Cougars net four after half time to beat Nighthawks in semifinal opener

Second half big

TRURO - Playing striker is something Chris Ross could get used to.
The 16-year-old Grade 11 student, who normally plays fullback, scored three goals and powered the Cobequid Cougars to a 4-1 win over the Northumberland Nighthawks in the opening leg of their two-game total goal NSSAF Northumberland Region soccer semifinal Tuesday at CEC.
Game 2 is Thursday at 4 p.m. at Northumberland. The winner of the set moves on to the regional final.
"It feels pretty good," Ross said of his performance. "We had our chances and took advantage."
Although the Cougars had plenty of possession in the first half, Cobequid didn't generate many scoring chances and found itself trailing 1-0 at half time. Northumberland's Esteban Siqueff found the back of the net in added time to give the Nighthawks the advantage on the cold, wet pitch.
"Everyone was kind of down but (coach) Jay (Foster) got us to bring it back up.
"He just reminded us it was a playoff game and we needed to pick up the intensity and play
better."
That they did.
Foster made several changes, including moving Ross from fullback to striker and Cobequid took control with his three markers. David Morrison claimed the other tally.
"We just started attacking more and finishing better and that gave us more confidence," Ross said.
The score was an unusual one considering the two sides battled to 2-2, 1-1, and 2-2 draws in their three meetings this season. That has the Cougars confident heading into Game 2, especially with a three-goal cushion. But the Cougars also know the series isn't over yet.
"We know they're tough and dangerous," Foster said. "So we're going to have our hands full."
The Cougars girls finished the regular season Tuesday with a 2-1 loss to the North Nova Gryphons. The setback placed the two sides in a tie for first in the regular season standings with the Gryphons taking the tiebreaker on head-to-head results.
Kallyn Morgan netted the lone Cobequid marker.
Cobequid will meet the third-place Nighthawks Thursday at 4 p.m. to open their playoff run at CEC.
The contest will be played under single-elimination format.

sports@trurodaily.com

Organizations: North Nova Gryphons

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