TCS and Covenant Christian played to an intense 2-2 draw on Thursday in Cumming, GA in blistering temperatures. The Cougars, who were playing their third game in 3 days, pushed through the heat and fatigue to earn a solid result against a physical Rams side.
The Cougars started slowly and found themselves under pressure for the first 10 minutes of the game. Though the Rams did not score in this time, it was immediately clear that the Cougars were in for a real test. The Cougar defence, led by Elijah Joiner, DJ Donaldson, Toby Nwokedi, and Shane Hendrickson frustrated the Rams’ attack throughout the match. Tim Mattioli, Dalton Lantz, Daniel Byman, Mac DeBalsi, and Ruslan van Kesteren anchored the Cougar midfield, and worked tirelessly for the entire 80 minutes. Maria Knezek, Paul Altermatt, Liam Walsh, and Colton Parks led the way in attack, keeping constant pressure on the Rams’ defense.
The Cougars’ defense had a momentary lapse of concentration 20 minutes into the match, and the Rams quickly capitalized. Goalie Aidan Briggs was left helpless as the Rams pounced on a Cougar mistake to score the opening goal. Having put forth so much effort early on, the Cougar defense was visibly deflated, and the Rams added a second goal just a few short minutes later.
Down 2-0 and on the road, the Cougars could have easily folded. Instead, they found their resolve and responded with a spell of pressure of their own. Their effort was rewarded when Daniel Byman chased down a long ball and out jumped the Rams’ keeper to head home for the Cougars first goal. Now only one goal down, the Cougars found themselves back in the game and energized. Tim Mattioli harnessed this momentum to make a slaloming run down the left flank and shoot and score to level the score at 2. The halftime break followed just a few minutes later, and the Cougars were focused on completing the comeback for an impressive road win..
Unfortunately, both teams simply ran out of gas in the second half. The heat took its toll on both sides, and the scoring chances were few and far between. The Cougar defense remained strong and united, and despite continued pressure from the Cougar attack, the game ended 2-2. The game was back and forth throughout, and both teams fought hard for the win. Ultimately, TCS and Covenant Christian were exhausted and appreciative of each others’ efforts as they shook hands and parted ways.