CACHS Knights fall in bronze medal game to Notre Dame at Central Alberta High School Soccer League zones

Thomas Nolan of the Central Alberta Christian High School Knights battles with his Notre Dame Cougars opponent during the Central Alberta High School Soccer League bronze medal game at the Collicut Centre field in Red Deer on Saturday, June 15, 2019. The Knights lost 2-1, marking the first time in five years they've finished outside of the top three. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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For the first time in five years, the Central Alberta Christian High School (CACHS) Knights boys soccer team finished out of the medals at the Central Alberta High School Soccer League Zone championships.

After capturing the league title two straight year in a row, then falling short of the “three-peat” last season, the Knights had been eyeing a top three finish, but ultimately fell 2-1 to the Notre Dame Cougars in the bronze medal game Saturday at the Collicutt Centre field in Red Deer.

“It’s a disappointing one for us,” said Jonathan Bell, a former CACHS student filling for head coach Travis Eggink who was away at a wedding. “We had a slow start to our game. We picked it up and we kept battling, but unfortunately didn’t get the goal we wanted – the game tying goal.”

The first 20 minutes of the game were described on the sidelines at the half as being some of their sloppiest of the season. The Cougars controlled play early on, forcing turnovers and keeping the Knights on the defensive, which ultimately led to the team being down 2-0 early thanks to Cougar goals by Caleb McMullen and Brian Medina.

Matthew Demund of the Central Alberta Christian High School Knights is held back by Matthew Hamonic of the Notre Dame Cougars during the Central Alberta High School Soccer League bronze medal game at the Collicutt Centre field in Red Deer on Saturday, June 15. The Knights fell 2-1 to the Cougars, marking the first time in five years the team has finished outside the top three. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Eventually, however, the Knights started to battle back, and in the last 15 minutes of the first half, took over control, and with about five minutes left in the frame, it paid off with Knight Matthew Demund firing a ball past the Cougars keeper from left-field to bring the team within one.

However, it would be their only goal – and the last of the game.

With momentum on their side and wind at their back, the Knights continued to dominate in the second half. Goal posts, a stellar performance by the Cougars keeper, and several calls against stopped them from tying the game on a number of prime scoring opportunities, and the Knights ultimately ran out of time to tie the game.

“We had some tough ones there that we could’ve buried, but that’s the way life goes, that’s the way soccer goes,” said Bell. “It’s not about the reffing at the end of the game, it’s how they play and how we play. They (Notre Dame) did really well today and they earned it. Their goalie was phenomenal. We just didn’t bury them and that’s the way it goes.”

The fourth place finish at zones dampened their second-place finish in the regular season. Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School took the league championship after defeating Hunting Hills High School in the final.

CACHS is already planning to come back in 2020 and not just get back in the top three, but take the championship once more.

“We want to come back and put our name on the trophy, hopefully. That’s our goal,” said Bell. “We’ve got a few good, young guys so the future is looking good.”

Jackson Macdonald of the CACHS Knights uses his head to stop Peter Girgis of the Notre Dame Cougars from gaining possession during the Central Alberta High School Soccer League bronze medal game at the Collicut Centre field in Red Deer on Saturday, June 15, 2019. The Knights fell 2-1 to the Cougars, marking the first time in five years the team finished outside of the top three. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

The Central Alberta Christian High School Knights pose for an end-of-season team photo following their 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Notre Dame Cougars in the Central Alberta High School Soccer League bronze medal game on Saturday, June 15, 2019. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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