By: Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
SCARBOROUGH, ONT.- October 15, 2011. That was the last time the men's and women's soccer teams both won each of their games on the same day at home.
"Shocking that it's been that long that we haven't won on the same day," Diarmuid O'Connor, Colts Head Coach said, laughing.
And after Wednesday, October 17, 2018, that dubious run of seven years and two days is officially history.
Behind a late last second goal in extra time from Jessica Friend, the Colts ended the season in dramatic fashion with a 3-2 victory over the Fleming Knights on a chilly night at Progress Turf Field.
"We sure picked a cold day to do that," O'Connor said.
Centennial fought off two one-goal deficits in the first half to tie the game and withstood a strong Knights attack before breaking through with Friend's fourth goal of the season.
"It's easy on a freezing night to wrap yourself up in a blanket and give up," O'Connor said, referring to missing the playoffs. "We knew we were facing a struggle in the second half with the wind but our defence stood strong. It was a testament to the team to end the season on a high."
Sayla Peters and Caitlin Cosgrove, who also added in an assist, scored in the first half for the Colts while Clara Alvez added a helper. Sabrina Rizzo stopped 11 of 13 shots for Centennial in the win.
Jenna Wetherill had a goal and an assist for Fleming while Alyssa Noonan scored for the Knights.
Fleming opened up the scoring in the fifth minute off of a free kick in which Jenna Wetherill fired off a shot in the box off of a scramble that beat Rizzo high to the right side.
But in the ninth minute, the home side responded after a clearance attempt from Knights goalkeeper Giana Koskinas went to the left foot of Peters, who made no mistake firing it into the bottom left corner.
"Her awareness was fantastic and also the way she calmly shot the ball," O'Connor said of Peters' goal. "Sometimes, panic sets in and you don't take that shot. She took it very well."
The Knights then retook the lead when they went on the rush in the 30th minute and Noonan put home the rebound after Rizzo stopped the initial shot from Wetherill.
But a resilient Colts team responded once again to tie the score up in the 42nd minute after Cosgrove perfectly placed a header into the top left corner after a beautiful corner kick from Alvez as the teams headed into halftime tied at two.
"It was a great goal right off her head and straight into the back of the net," O'Connor said of Cosgrove's goal. "Fantastic way for her to end her career."
Both teams then spent the majority of the second half trying to get that go-ahead goal but were unable to for the most part. Fleming had a glorious chance in the 84th minute as Victoria Hill had a wide open shot in the box but her shot was robbed by Rizzo at the goalline.
That sequence proved to be vital for Centennial as with time running out in the game, Friend broke through off of a pass from Cosgrove and fired a strike past Koskinas to send everyone in attendance into a frenzy.
"And this was her last collegiate game in an outdoor field," O'Connor said. "To have her drive the net on a cold night and score on her final shot on goal sums up her and the resiliency on this team."
It couldn't have been scripted any better as the women now look ahead to indoor season.
Tonight's game also marked the Colts' Think Pink event, in an effort to raise awareness for breast cancer. The women wore pink socks during the game to support the cause.
Before the game, the following seven seven players were honoured as a part of Seniors Night.
Shellah Amjad (MF)
Faith Anderson (D)
Claire Cherry (D)
Sabrina Rizzo (GK)
Fran Robinson (D)
Paige Solda (D)
Trynelle Thomas (MF)
"A lot of memories and a lot of good times; some struggles along the way," O'Connor said about how he felt as he reminisced about the seniors. "But all of them have given everything they had to the team over the years that they've been here and it's been a pleasure to coach them."
A more in-depth look at each of the senior athletes will be featured soon.
TOP 3 COLTS PERFORMERS OF THE GAME