© Katie Brickman
Jenna Coates (13) of the Vanier Spirits beats Mikayla Barks (left) from Caronport and kicks the ball towards Caronport's keeper, Hannah Ukrainetz during quarter-final high school girls soccer action on Tuesday afternoon at Smith Fields. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman
Spirits beat Cougars in quarter-final
With the season on the line, the Vanier Spirits took some chances and made sure to cash in on their opportunities.
“We got a lot of opportunities and scored a couple goals,” said Michaela Sykora of Vanier.
The Spirits defeated the Caronport Cougars 4-1 in high school girls soccer quarter-final action on Tuesday afternoon at Smith Fields.
“It felt uphill and it felt like we weren’t destined to win,” said Rod Appleby, Cougars coach. “I’ve seen our girls play much better than this. I don’t know if it was nerves or inexperience. We have some experienced girls and some inexperienced girls.”
For the Spirits, they concentrated on opening the field up on offence in practice to allow for more players to get involved, but also to spread out the Cougars defence — which helped them get more chances on Caronport’s keeper Hannah Ukrainetz, who kept the Cougars in the game.
“We wanted to get wide and to focus,” said Sykora. “It feels awesome. We really wanted this win.”
The Cougars weren’t able to put much pressure on the Spirits, as Vanier controlled much of the play in the second half.
Alexis Jones scored in the first half for Vanier, but then Jenna Coates and Kirah Brown added goals in the second half to seal the win. Sarah Rostad scored the lone Caronport goal in the loss.
“Credit to the other team. I thought they were well coached, they played well and they played disciplined,” said Appleby. “They handled the ball well (and) they passed better than we did.”
Despite not getting the victory, the Cougars didn’t seem too disappointed in their regular season coming to an end.
“The bottom line is that I think they are having fun,” said Appleby. “Even after five minutes after losing a playoff game, they are smiling.”
Since Vanier defeated Caronport, they will face first-place Swift Current on Thursday afternoon (4 p.m., Smith Fields). Swift Current finished undefeated in the regular season and earned a bye to the semifinal.
“It is going to tough, but we just want to do our best and have fun,” said Sykora.
Now that Caronport is eliminated from league action, they will turn their focus to the 2A regional tournament.
“It is an eight-team tournament and it will be a tough one for us, but upsets happen in soccer,” said Appleby. “We know it will be tough, but we will keep working.”
They will prepare for that tournament by hosting Herbert next Wednesday in an exhibition game as Herbert just started up a girls soccer team.
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