The Cottage School Cougars fell to the Oak Mountain Warriors at East Roswell Park on Wednesday by a score of 5-1. The Cougars battled for the entire 80 minutes against a talented Warriors squad, and they left the field with their heads held high.
The Cougars were on the back foot and under pressure from the opening kick-off. The Warriors passing play gave the Cougars fits, but the defense, anchored by Toby Nwokedi, DJ Donaldson, Shane Hendrickson, and Elijah Joiner, held strong for the first ten minutes. Then, just as it appeared the Cougars were ready to settle into the game and build some pressure of their own, Oak Mountain slipped through the Cougar defense for a 1 on 1 breakaway vs keeper Aidan Briggs. As he has done all season, Briggs came flying out of his goal to close down the Warrior attacker and produced an incredible save to keep the score level! Buoyed by their keeper, the Cougars did manage to mount some pressure and earned an attacking corner kick.
After the brief respite, the Cougar defense was back under pressure again, and Oak Mountain finally broke through for the opening goal. Just a few minutes later, they beat the Cougars’ offside trap for a second goal. Undeterred, the Cougars kept pressing for a goal of their own. Daniel Byman, Ruslan van Kesteren, Maria Knezek, Dalton Lantz, Tim Mattioli, and Liam Walsh displayed incredible heart and courage as they pursued the Warriors through the midfield and pushed for a goal. Paul Altermatt, Mac DeBalsi, Alex Yager, Nick Rice, Colton Parks, Kyle Kimble, and Dustin Bertolome-Behrens all provided much needed relief off the bench.
The Cougars nearly cut the Warrior lead in half thanks to a Ruslan van Kesteren shot from a Daniel Byman cross. The shot from the top of the boxed curled perfectly around the keeper but struck the crossbar and came directly back into play. At halftime, the Cougars found themselves trailing 2-0.
The Warriors came out in the second half looking to bury the Cougars with another few goals, and they scored off of a corner kick early on to extend their lead to 3-0. Minutes later, though, the Cougars’ hard work and persistence paid off. Daniel Byman took an angled shot from the side of the box that was saved by the keeper, but Ruslan van Kesteren smashed the rebound home to give the Cougars their long overdue opening goal. The Cougars’ hopes of mounting a comeback were quickly dashed, though, as the Warriors quickly scored a fourth goal. The 5th and final oak Mountain goal came via a penalty late in the game. Final score: Oak Mountain 5, TCS 1.
The coaches were incredibly proud of the effort and determination displayed by the team. The Cougars played their hearts out for 80 minutes in extreme heat against a talented opponent. They represented TCS with dignity and integrity.
Next up: 9/13 at Brandon Hall 4:30 PM