It didn’t come easy for the Weyburn Eagles; in fact, they had to battle through overtime and a shootout to earn them a spot in the league final for the third year in a row.
"It was a little more exciting than we had hoped, but we are glad that the girls hung in and pulled through,” said Scott Benning, head coach for the Eagles.
The Eagles defeated the Peacock Tornadoes 3-2 in a shootout in semifinal girls soccer action on Thursday afternoon at Sunningdale Field. The Tornadoes couldn’t be more impressed with how the team battled and played throughout the game.
"Peacock certainly came out strong and stuck to the game plan. It’s just like the peacock bird…they are tenacious and hard fighting,” stated Sandi Hutchinson, head coach for Peacock. “I'm really proud of how the team played going into overtime and the seventh shooter. We are very proud of the team and the girls are proud of themselves."
Peacock got on the board early in the first half and applied good pressure on the Eagles, not allowing them many chances to get past half. Their hard work while playing their system allowed Paige Dell to strike first.
"They played a really good defensive system against us and we just weren't quick enough to pick up on it, but I'm glad we hung on,” stated Benning. "The first half we really didn't react to their defensive system and I thought we played with no energy and it took about 60 minutes for the girls to start making good decisions out there."
Shelby VanDeWoestyne got the Eagles on the board in the second half as she kicked the ball just over the outstretched hands of Peacock’s keeper, Stacee Greensides. The Eagles continued to pressure the Tornadoes defence in the second half, but Kara Enns gave the Tornadoes the lead on a shot that got past Maddi Epp, the keeper for Weyburn.
"Our defensive players are Grade 12s and they really stepped it up. They just played hard and left it all on the field,” said Hutchinson. "Our keeper Stacee did a fantastic job in net."
The Eagles would tie the game late in the second half after the ball hit the post and squirted out to Fallon Gaab, who kicked it past Greensides.
"We've had a good season and I haven’t seen them give up all year so I was hoping that today (Thursday) that they would continue to keep working,” said Benning.
Extra time solved nothing between these two teams and a shootout was set up. Three girls hit back-to-back posts between the two teams and it was Meagan McLeod, Weyburn’s seventh shooter that sealed the victory.
In the other semifinal game, the Swift Current Ardens will try to win their sixth league title in seven years next week after defeating the Central Cyclones 9-0.
"I think at the start of the first half we played really well and controlled the ball and then we kind of lost focus in the second half and that's really what got to us,” stated Halle Forbes from Central. "The first half we played pretty good and kept them off for quite a while and we knew that's what we had to do."
For the Ardens, they didn’t feel it was their best match of the season, but they will take the victory.
"I think early in the game, we were just waiting for things to happen and not doing anything, only reacting to what they were doing and our touch was off,” said Dale Perry, head coach of Swift Current. "We didn't play one of our better games, I didn't feel."
Since reaching their goals for the season, the Eagles are excited for another chance at the Ardens in the league final.
"Our goals were to finish in the top two and make it to the semi final. We wanted to get through this game,” stated Benning. “Hopefully we can finally get a step ahead of Swift Current. We've been battling them for a few years and hopefully this is our turn.”
Both Peacock and Central will now focus on 2A regionals next weekend.