Cougars crown Royals

Matt Veno
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Cobequid girls soccer team mounts late-game comeback, snatches regional title in overtime

Cougars crown Royals

TRURO - The Dr. John Hugh Gillis Royals thought they had the 2009 Northumberland region girls soccer title in their grasp.
The Cobequid Cougars had other plans.
Despite trailing the Royals 2-1 with less than four minutes to go, the Cougars managed to get the contest into overtime and like their namesake, proceeded to claw the Royals defence to shreds, pumping in five goals in extra time to crown the Antigonish school 7-3.
"It feels amazing," said senior fullback and co-captain Carleigh Hiltz, who scored the tying goal in the 86th minute. "Especially since this is my last year and it feels even better that we came back to win."
Co-coach Trevor Gordon was lost for words following the contest as he watched his players celebrate with the regional banner.
"It's amazing," he said after a pause. "It was a huge comeback. We were three minutes away from losing."
The victory means the Cougars earn the right to host a provincial qualifier against a yet to be determined opponent, while the Royals will be forced to travel for one.
The regional title is Cobequid's second in a row.
But it didn't look as if it was going to happen.
The Royals jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals in the 42nd and 55th minutes and their defence had managed to snuff out any Cougars' attacks.
That changed drastically after Lauren Sinclair broke in alone and chipped the ball past a sprawling Gillis keeper with nine minutes to go.
Knowing time was dwindling, Sinclair immediately snatched the ball from the net and took it back to centre to keep the game alive.
"It really did," said Erin MacKenzie, who scored three goals in overtime, when asked if Sinclair's marker breathed new life into the Cougars. "We didn't play as well as we could have so when we got one it really helped."
The Cougars then took control of the match and got their chance to draw even when the Gillis keeper strayed outside the 18-yard box with the ball in her hands. The Cougars were awarded a penalty kick and Hiltz buried it to the delight of the 100 people in attendance.
"I just told myself, 'do what you practiced all summer,'" Hiltz said. "Then I just asked myself, 'Did I just score?'"
Gordon said Hiltz was the perfect player to take the kick.
"When you're in that situation you want your big players there," he said.
The Cougars didn't let off the gas in overtime and Kallyn Morgan started the barrage with a goal in the 99th minute. MacKenzie got the first of her three just four minutes later and Morgan added another at the 107-minute mark.
The Royals made it 5-3 in the 118th but MacKenzie answered right back with her second goal in the same minute before netting her third two minutes later.
"It feels really good," MacKenzie said of helping her team seal the win.
Even though they were happy about coming back, Gordon said the Cougars were disappointed they had to.
"We felt we were the better team and they really only had two scoring chances and they both went in."
Hiltz said never giving up was the key.
"It just goes to show you should never give up even when you're down," she said.
Gordon agreed.
"We're a team that always gets scoring chances and I always knew we could win."

sports@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Antigonish school

Geographic location: Northumberland

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