Cougars withstand late Pronghorn pressure to win first game of the season

Cougars withstand late Pronghorn pressure to win first game of the season

Dan Khavkin, Mount Royal Sports Information                                                                               

CALGARY-AB, The Mount Royal Cougars women’s soccer season started off with a 2-1 victory against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.

A very steady first half had threatening chances come from both sides with Cougars keeper Cailyn Leeson being tested. Leeson was forced to be on her toes blocking away a few of breakaway chances and tipping some shots over the net in the first part of the game.

The Cougars connected on a good number of one-two’s to create chances from open play but couldn’t finish in the final third.

The Pronghorns however, put the first point on the board in the 22nd minute on a rebound tapped in by fifth year senior Nikki Furukawa. Leeson made the first save with her body but the rebound was spilt out in front and she couldn’t reach the second shot.

The Cougars answered right back in the 35th minute after Janai Martens lobbed a ball, over the flatfooted Pronghorn defence, to first year Jullien Ramírez who chested the ball down with class and slotted the ball into the top netting. The precise strike was her first of the season and tied the game at 1-1.

Sophmore Quinn Hardstaff put away a penalty kick in the 54th minute on a handball call awarded by the referee to the home side.

Third year Erin Holt started the second half and immediately began causing trouble with every touch along the sidelines and creating dangerous chances. Holt and the Cougars kept pressing with intensity and this stirred up the Pronghorns who drew three yellow cards and allowed the Cougars to create more chances.

Carly Neis had the best chance off the momentum swing as she chipped the ball over Lethbridge netminder Paige Gattafoni only to ring the ball off the crossbar.

Lethbridge pressed late to try to steal points on the road but couldn’t crack a strong willed Cougars defence who picked up their first win of the season.

Mount Royal hosts the first edition of the Crowchild Classic on Sunday morning against the University of Calgary Dinos with kickoff scheduled for 11 AM while the Pronghorns are off to face the Alberta Pandas tomorrow at 2 PM in Edmonton.