By: Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
BELLEVILLE, ONT.- With two games left to go in the 2018-19 season, the Centennial Colts travelled north to face off against the Loyalist Lancers. Heading into this game, both teams sported an 0-9-1 record, looking for a win.
And after suffering consecutive blowout losses to the Durham Lords and Seneca Sting, Centennial had enough.
"We can sometimes tell from our warmup if the girls are on or not," Diarmuid O'Connor, Colts Head Coach said. "We were the first team here and were well warmed up when they (Loyalist) arrived. You could tell our girls had a buzz about them today."
Which was not a good sign for the Lancers.
Behind goals from forwards Faby Monteiro and Sayla Peters, the Colts (1-9-1) beat the Lancers (0-10-1) by a score of 2-1, finally getting the monkey off of their back and ending a 10-game winless streak.
"It's a great testament to their work ethic in the second half of the season, still fighting for a win," said O'Connor. "I'm very proud of the effort tonight and everyone played a part."
"Everyone was winning their individual battles and were playing the positions in doing what they had to do," Colts midfielder Jessica Friend said. "So when everyone's doing that, we come together and we got the win."
"I think what worked well was not always moving forward and that we were able to restart and shift the ball to each side so that we can penetrate better whereas in previous games, we just tried to go for goal," Colts midfielder Caitlin Cosgrove said. "Patience was definitely a key theme in our win."
Cosgrove was someone that really stood out for O'Connor as she controlled the pace on the offensive end and was everywhere.
"She ran every length and breadth of the field today," O'Connor said about his midfielder. "She was awesome."
Colts midfielder Tasia Martin had an assist in the win.
The last time Centennial held a lead this season was in the 50th minute on Sept. 18, 2018, against these same Lancers but that lead lasted for a total of 30 seconds. This time, however, would be a much different story.
The Colts controlled possession to start off the game but they could not generate a decent shot on net. But Centennial, for the first time since Sept. 23, 2018 against the Fleming Knights, eventually broke through and finally found the back of the net.
Martin attacked the right side and sent in a cross which found the left foot of Monteiro in the box as she fired it into the bottom left corner in the 23rd minute. She took a page out of Kirk Gibson's book, pumping her fist as she ran back celebrating.
"We've been talking to her about just taking a shot whenever she has an opportunity," O'Connor said about Monteiro. "It was more of a relief that she took the chance and it was a great goal."
"The fact that we got that goal pretty early on just set the tone for the rest of the game," Friend said.
Loyalist threatened to even up the score late in the first half but shots from Taylor Wightman and Emily Osmond went just high as Centennial went into intermission, up 1-0.
The Colts then added to their lead in the 60th minute after Peters took the ball from a Lancers defender on the rush, turned, and fired a strike into the top left corner past the leaping Loyalist goalie. It marked the first time that the Colts scored two goals since Sept. 16, 2017, which occurred in this same field.
"I was going to pass it but I was like, 'Let me just shoot it,'" Peters said. "I did and I scored."
"That ball wasn't hers. She actually fought for the ball, won it, turned around and took a great shot," O'Connor said of Peters' goal. "It shows that she's willing to never give up on the ball and we appreciated that at the end."
Loyalist cut the deficit into half when Cole fired a shot from 22 yards away in which Rizzo misjudged it, going into the back of the net in the 73rd minute. The Lancers had a chance in extra time to tie the game up at two after Rizzo lost possession of the ball.
"I was closing my eyes, to be honest with you, when she (Rizzo) lost the ball," O'Connor said, laughing. "I was hoping that it wasn't going in."
O'Connor's prayers were answered after Wightman's attempt into the open net was deflected by Solda, who came to the rescue once again as Centennial held on for the win.
Now the focus is to their last regular season game at home against the Fleming Knights to end off the season on a high note.
"We've got to play like we did today," O'Connor said. "Come with a positive attitude and get ourselves ready to go from the beginning."
TOP 3 COLTS PERFORMERS OF THE GAME
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Centennial wraps up their season this Wednesday against the Fleming Knights at Progress Turf Field at 6:00pm. It is also Think Pink on that day in an effort to support the fight against breast cancer so come on out wearing pink.