U of R Soccer comes up short in Edmonton

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Cougars lose in PKs. Nathan McCarville

U of R Soccer ends season in the Canada West playoffs

The Cougars played a tremendously hard-fought game against the University of Victoria Vikes in last weekend’s playoffs. The teams went scoreless through a grueling 120 minutes of play. Weather was a huge factor for both teams, with winds of 25 kilometers an hour and near-zero temperatures buffeting the players. The season decider ultimately went to penalty kicks, which went as bitterly close as the rest of the game; only being decided in the fifth round. Unfortunately, the nail biter went the Vikes way, with keeper Puck Louwes getting the win for her team. Her opposition Kylie Bolton was also outstanding, stopping seven shots through regulation for the Cougars to keep them in contention. For Coach Bob Maltman, although the result wasn’t what they wanted, the team showed great resilience.

“We are very proud of the efforts that every player who took the pitch showed in the match. The fighting spirit, commitment to our game plan, team organization and desire to be a threat to the opponent over 120 minutes of regular play and extra time was fantastic. Our coaching staff commend each and every one of our players for their ability to play under adverse weather conditions throughout the match.”

It was also the last time fifth-year athletes will take to the pitch for the Cougars, namely Lauren Petras, Brooke Schlossarek, Savannah Williams, Kirsten FInley, Cassie Longmuir, Jet Davies, Sydney Langen, and Brigit Sinaga. Maltman noted that these seniors were all instrumental in the team’s successful season.

“For our senior women who played their final game as a Cougar student-athlete, they can certainly hold their heads up high. Not only have they invested in our program, but they have shown to our high number of younger players within our squad the drive, passion, resilience, and commitment needed to make an impact.”

The team also made tremendous improvements statistically, despite only a slight improvement in the standings. They scored 17 goals this season, almost double the nine that they scored in 2018. Additionally, while the team went 3-8-3 in regular season, they showed an ability to play with the best of teams. 64% of their games were played to ties or one goal margins. Should they be able to get on the winning side of those close matchups in 2020, they will be set for a dominant season. Coach Maltman also sees a winning future for his young group, despite a high number of graduations.

“We wanted to win more matches, generate more quality chances and score more goals over the course of season. While we did achieve all of these aims, as a squad we certainly feel that we could have saw a few more wins this season by being more clinical in finishing in some matches. The number of players who contributed to our team’s performances over the season was very encouraging and bodes well for our future.”

This future will include a number of high impact rookies, including Olivia Gables, who was named to the Canada West Rookie All-Star team. Heading into their second seasons they will look to continue the trend of improvement and go for a deeper playoff run in 2020.

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