The Cottage School Varsity Soccer Cougars are once again AAC Champions!! For the 3rd year in a row, the Cougars captured the AAC title, defeating Howard School yesterday 7-1.
For the first 20 minutes of the game, the Hawks played the Cougars to a scoreless draw. With the wind blowing in their faces, the Cougars had a difficult time breaking down a well-organized Howard defense. The breakthrough goal was finally scored by Larry Orsini, though. As he has done all season, Larry provided the spark that brought the Cougars’ offense roaring to life. Less than a minute later, Larry scored a second goal, leaving Howard stunned and deflated. Maria Knezek played in a cross from the wing that was mishandled by the keeper, and Larry was right there for the easy tap in. 2-0 Cougars after 25 minutes.
The next ten minutes saw Howard regain their footing in the game. The Hawks were able to score directly from a free kick deep in Cougar territory. Minutes later, the Hawks earned a penalty and looked ready to even the score at 2-2. Aidan Briggs had other ideas, though. Standing strong on his line, the Cougar keeper was able to successfully parry the ensuing penalty away, maintaining the slim 2-1 lead.
In the final minutes of the first half, the Cougars regained their 2 goal cushion. Shane Hendrickson stepped up to take a corner kick and curled the ball directly into the goal! His perfectly placed free kick gave the Cougars all of the momentum heading into halftime.
In the second half, the Cougars protected and extended their lead with some confident team play. With the wind now at their backs, the Cougars were truly dominant. The back line of Brett Boyles, Natalie Yager, Elijah Joiner, and DJ Donaldson was rock solid, keeping the Hawks far from the goal. The midfield, anchored by Shane, Daniel Byman, Maria, Alex Hoeve, and Seth Goldberg controlled possession. And the attacking line led by Larry and Roman Lawlor kept constant pressure on the Hawks defense.
Daniel Byman scored the 4th Cougar goal after a meandering solo run. Shortly thereafter, Daniel played a beautiful free kick into the box to find Shane Hendrickson. With a delicate first-time flick, Shane redirected the ball over the keeper’s head and into the back of the net, scoring one of the best goals of the entire season. With a 5-1 lead now in place, the Cougars settled in to defend and see the rest of the game out.
The Senior Cougars all played together in the second half, with Eric Vogel, Kevin Wen, and Tommy Ingle all playing crucial roles down the stretch. Kevin played in a couple perfectly placed corner kicks, and then assisted Larry on the Cougars 6th goal of the game. The Cougars did a wonderful job of sharing the ball and playing team soccer. The final goal was scored by Daniel Byman. After another long solo run with the ball, Daniel beat the keeper to increase the lead to 7-1.
Javier Cremer, Nick Rice, and Alex Yager maintained the offensive pressure up front, with Mitchell Starks, Toby Nwokedi, and Colton Parks all playing supporting roles in the defense and midfield. The entire Cougar team was involved in the victory yesterday, ending the season on a high note.
The coaches would like to thank the players for their dedication and work throughout the season. It was not easy, but the team showed up for practice every day and every player improved over the course of the season. We would also like to thank the parents that supported their athletes throughout the season. Finally, we want to thank the teachers and administrators that supported us and the team here on campus all season long. None of this would have been possible without a coordinated effort from all involved, and we hope that the joy of this championship will be shared by all.
See you next year as we go for #4.