The Cougars were ranked fifth in the region coming into the first playoff match against the No. 8 seeded BV North Huskies on Oct. 25. The Huskies were known for playing tight defense, giving up the second least amount of goals in a season in school history. The Cougars knew it was going to be a low-scoring game that could lead to an upset.
In the first half, the Cougars dominated the game, keeping possession of the ball almost the entire half. Senior David Fancher’s upper 90 shot from 30 yards nearly went in but nailed the post. Minutes later, senior Logan Knisely had another opportunity on goal, but also could not convert. The Huskies had limited chances to score. The halftime score was 0-0.
The teams played much more evenly in the second half. A stiff wind in the face of the Cougars made it difficult to get any offense going and kept the ball on the NW half. Halfway through second half, an unmarked BV North attacker running in on a cross one-touched a ball past senior Eric Zoellner to put the Huskies up 1-0. After that, frankly, the Cougars panicked and never got back to playing their game. With minutes left, the Cougars pushed everyone up on offense to try to equalize. Late shots by seniors Knisley and Connor Holman and junior Galen Gossman gave the Cougars hope but all failed to save the Cougars. The final score was 1-0, eliminating the Cougars from the playoffs.
“It was really tough. We had high expectations for the whole season and it just didn’t go our way. The loss hit the seniors hard because that was it. It’s hard to realize there isn’t going to be a next year playing with teammates like them,” Holman said. “At the end of the day we just have to realize how much fun we had together and how much we grew as a team.”