The Cottage School Cougars earned their first victory of the season on Tuesday in a 6-1 victory over the rival Howard School Hawks. The Cougars and the Hawks played a 7 vs 7 game on a small field, but the Cougars showed impressive adaptability and flexibility as they overcame these tactical irregularities to prevail with the win.
The Cougars defence remained solid in the first half as DJ Donaldson, Elijah Joiner, and Shane Hendrickson stymied the Hawks’ attack. Aidan Briggs collected a couple saves, but Howard was unable to produce any serious chances. On the offensive end, Paul Altermatt, Dalton Lantz, and Maria Knezek led the way. Their passing was not fully in sync, though, and chances were few and far between. Liam Walsh, Bryce Dickerson, Colton Parks, Nick Rice, and Daniel Byman assisted as offensive reinforcements, and Toby Nwokedi and Dustin Bartolome-Behrens fortified the defence. The Cougars attempted several shots from distance, and Elijah Joiner came close to scoring on two separate corner kicks, but the first half ended scoreless.
After a much needed half-time break, the Cougars jumped out to a fast start in the second half. After only a minute or two, Shane Hendrickson fed Dalton Lantz on the wing. After a quick cut to the middle around his defender, Dalton fired through the keeper’s legs for the Cougars opening goal of the season! Not to be outdone, Shane then slotted a low shot from distance into the far corner to double the Cougars lead. In the span of just a few minutes, the Cougars had stunned the Hawks and taken a commanding 2 goal lead.
With the Hawks reeling, the Cougars continued to press their advantage. It was Daniel Byman’s turn to get in on the scoring, and the sophomore netted 3 goals (including one on an assist from keeper Aidan Briggs) in just about 10 minutes, putting the game out of reach. With a 5-0 lead in hand, the Cougars settled in defensively and focused on keeping a clean sheet. Emma Altermatt, Alex Yager, and Javier Cremer provided defensive cover from the midfield. Mac DeBalsi and Mitchell Starks made tough tackles and applied constant pressure to the Hawks. Matthew Placide and Reese Silverman made sharp passes to propel the Cougar attack. Though Howard eventually broke through the Cougars’ defence to score their opening goal, it only came after an incredible 1 on 1 save by Aidan Briggs. Dalton Lantz added a 6th Cougar goal in the closing minutes, and the final score was 6-1.