The Cottage School Cougars won another AAC matchup yesterday, this time defeating the Howard Hawks by a score of 5-2 at East Roswell Park. In a game that was played 7 a side on a shortened field, the Cougars wore the Hawks down with precise passing and relentless defensive pressure.

The Cougars got off to a flying start to the game. Straight off of the opening kick, the Cougars worked their way down the field and into the Howard box. Daniel Byman drew a foul to earn the Cougars a penalty within the opening minute of the game and Shane Hendrickson buried his shot to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead. Howard attempted to respond quickly, but Elijah Joiner and Toby Nwokedi kept the Hawks far from Aidan Briggs’s goal. In the few times Aidan was tested, he responded by quickly coming off his line to clear away danger, and he also produced 4 saves.

Just a few minutes after the opening goal, Shane netted his second of the afternoon to double the Cougar lead. Ruslan van Kesteren drove down the right wing, bringing the hawks defense with him. He then cut the ball back to Paul Altermatt, who made a one touch pass to Shane. Shane curled the ball beautifully past the keeper and into the top corner of the net to complete one of the Cougars’ best team goals of the season.

Every available Cougar was able to play in yesterday’s game. Mac DeBalsi, Emma Altermatt, Dustin Bartolome-Behrens, Mitchell Starks, and Nick Rice reinforced the defense and frustrated the Howard attack. Alex Yager, Javier Cremer, Maria Knezek, and Tim Mattioli worked tirelessly in midfield to help the Cougars dominate possession throughout the game. Dalton Lantz, Liam Walsh, and Reese Silverman were a constant threat to score up front and forced the Howard defense to make some impressive last-ditch tackles and saves.

Still in the first half, Daniel Byman got in on the scoring action. On two separate occasions, Daniel was able to dribble through the tiring Hawks’ defense to score. His goals further extended the Cougar lead, giving TCS a comfortable 4-0 advantage at the break.

In the second half, the Cougars focused on sharing the ball and allowing all players to get a lot of playing time. Shane Hendrickson nearly completed his hat trick after another beautiful Cougar passing move, but his shot just flashed wide of the post. Shane then moved into goal, where he came up with 3 saves of his own. Aidan Briggs stepped out of goal and into the role of striker, where he provided persistent energy and nearly produced goals and assists of his own on several occasions. Daniel Byman was able to complete his hat trick after a Howard defensive error. Howard was also able to produce two goals of their own in the second half, but the Cougars’ victory was never in doubt. The game ended with a final score of 5-2.

TCS will wrap up the regular season on 9/27 with their final home game of the season vs AASD. A win on Friday will guarantee the Cougars the top seed in the upcoming AAC playoffs, which begin next Thursday 10/3 at The Howard School. Game time and opponent TBA.