The Cottage School Cougars kicked off their season on Friday with an exciting match vs rivals Mill Springs Academy. Though the match ultimately ended in a 0-0 draw, it was full of excitement, intensity, and impressive effort from both squads.

The Cougars started the match on the back foot and found themselves under constant MSA pressure for the first 10 minutes. Toby Nwokedi, DJ Donaldson, Elijah Joiner, and Nick Rice were steady in defence in front of Aidan Briggs’s goal though, and MSA were held scoreless. On the offensive end, Maria Knezek, Liam Walsh, Dalton Lantz, and Paul Altermatt led the way in attack. Ruslan van Kesteren and Shane Handrickson were tireless in midfield.

After the initial 10 minutes of MSA pressure, the Cougars settled into the game nicely and started building some pressure of their own. There were not many big chances for either team to score in the first half, but the Cougars went into halftime feeling optimistic about their chances of securing a victory.

The second half began with a wave of pressure from the Cougars, and Shane Hendrickson was robbed of a truly stunning goal as his long free kick struck the post and bounced away. Later in the half, Ruslan van Kesteren and Dalton Lantz produced shots on goal, but they were all saved. Aidan Briggs contributed 4 saves of his own. He was aided by substitutes Emma Altermatt, Mac Debalsi, and Dustin Bartolome-Behrens, who all contributed to the Cougars’ stellar defence. Colton Parks, Bryce Dickerson, Alex Yager, Javier Cremer, Reese Silverman, Mitchell Starks, and Schuyler Nebel all worked hard in the midfield to help control possession. The game ended scoreless after a hot 80 minutes in the sun, and both teams were relieved to hear the final whistle and escape the heat.

Though the Cougars were disappointed not to win their first game of the season, they were encouraged by their performance. The coaches saw a lot of positives, especially in the second half, and are looking to build on Friday’s performance as the team travels to Howard School on Tuesday 9/3. The Cougars’ schedule is busy going forward, with 2 games per week for the next several weeks. We are looking forward to a fun and successful season!