Attack in the ‘Nak

Cougars host annual tournament

RYAN WILLMAN

Arrow Lakes News

Nakusp Secondary School hosted their annual girls soccer tournament, Attack in the ‘Nak last weekend. Fifteen teams from around the Kootenay region were invited to participate in a two-pool playoff bracket for the seniors and a five team round robin for the juniors.

The junior girls continued to strengthen their core fundamentals and gel together as a team during the hurly burly of the tournament. Thrown willingly into the fire, the young Cougars hit the ground running for their home opener on Friday morning by facing off against a technically sound Kaslo team. Despite the best of efforts, the Cougars could not find the net and fell to a tough 6-0 loss. The plight of the junior squad continued into the next match on Friday against the Trail A team, who also managed to find the net behind the Cougar keeper six times. Left holding a big ‘ol goose egg twice in a row ignited the fire in the junior Cougars bellies and they regrouped Saturday morning for their match up against the Creston Bulldogs. Showing a little more cohesion, the girls rallied together and finally earned their first tally when Indica Phillipson’s smart positional play intercepted a botched goal kick. Phillipson treaded into danger zone, then willfully put the ball away in the toy box for a 1-0 score that would endure right to the end of the match.

On the other side of the street in the senior division, the Cougar pack started off slow, almost tentative, but built on their momentum until they reached a frothing frenzy and rampaged through their pool all the way to the tournament final. A slurry of goals came from all directions, as the Cougars flexed their skill depth by dispatching Castelgar 2-0, Mt. Sentinel 5-0, Creston 3-1 then finally pushing through Kimberley 1-0 to punch their ticket to the championship.

Invariably suffering from the physical exertion of the four-match climb to the top of their pool, the Cougars assembled on Zelzenik field for the final battle against their first place counterpart, Princess Margaret. Both teams looked a little worse for wear during the warm up, as bruised and taxed muscles attempted to shake of pain and exhaustion in preparation for some high quality soccer. At the whistle, the red Princess Margaret squad collided with the grey Cougars head-on like a thunderclap that dissolved all signs of fatigue from both squads. The field of Zelzenik observed a donnybrook, as unrelenting efforts searched for precious inches through the strong defensive lines. Unfortunately, when Kira Striliev and Abby Boswell zigged for success, the strong fullback unit of Princess Margaret zagged, effectively neutralizing any and all offensive threats. It was the Cougars who were first to falter, when a strong challenge by keeper, Adriel Goodman, was disrupted by poor communication and a streaking red striker was suddenly goal-side of the play and easily slipped the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead.

The Cougars fell back on their scruples and dug deep to soldier on trying to find an equalizer, but trouble befell the girls again when an aggressive challenge by Taylor Aeichele resulted in a penalty kick that was cashed in for a two-goal cushion.

Switching up strategies, the Cougar strikers and midfielders abandoned the one on one zig-zag battles in favor of delivering the ball over the red Maginot line into the offensive zone. Unfortunately, speed was matched for speed, and the forward pushes were turned away. Unable to consolidate their efforts, and finding no clear paths to the net, the Cougars gave up one more goal for a final score of 3-0.

The Cougars earned a solid second place in their tournament through the courage of their conviction and the strength of their team.

The tournament organizers would like to thank the Village of Nakusp for their support, Overwaitea for their generous donations, the Fairy Tale Café for organizing milk donations for each team, School District 10 for their maintenance efforts and the students of Nakusp Secondary School who volunteered as assistant referees for all of the games. Finally, the Cougars would like to thank all of the fans that attended the matches and showed their support.

 

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