The NCSSAA senior boys Tier 1 soccer championship was supposed to be a toss up match between two extremely gifted and talented teams.
|Members of the Béatrice-Desloges Bulldogs pose for a team picture after winning the NCSSAA senior boys Tier 1 soccer championship on Monday. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
On paper there was very little that separated the Colonel By Cougars and the Béatrice-Desloges Bulldoges when they took to the pitch on Nov. 4.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 5-0-1 record, while the Cougars finished right behind them with a record of 4-1-1. The lone tie on both of their records was a 6-6 result when they faced each other on Oct. 16. The six goals given up by the Bulldogs in that game represented 75 per cent of the goals they allowed in their five other regular season games combined.
Both teams demonstrated they had ample firepower during the regular season with the Cougars and the Bulldogs scoring 25 and 24 goals respectively. The biggest difference in their stat lines were their respective goals against. Aside from the 6-6 tie, the Bulldogs only gave up two goals in five games, while the Cougars were scored upon 10 times.
Something had to give in the Tier 1 final and it turned out to be the
Cougars' defence as the Bulldogs managed to score early and often, rolling to a 4-0 halftime lead before cruising to a 5-0 win.
It took less than four minutes for the Bulldogs to get on the scoreboard on shot from Julien Bolduc that beat Cougars' keeper Riley Young high and inside the far post.
Young did his best to keep his teammates in the game with a couple of huge saves, but the Bulldogs were relentless in their attack. Their hard work paid off when Thierry Condé scored off a well placed lead pass from Astel Essindi in the 25th minute.
Condé spent the last two years honing his talents with the FC Porto soccer academy in Portugal. The Orléans native returned to Canada in the summer so he could spend his final year at B-D.
Condé would score again two minutes later on a lead pass from Emile Leonhardt that split the Cougars' defence. Three minutes after that, Essindi got into the action with his first of the game, and within a five minute timespan the Bulldogs had a 4-0 lead.
The Cougars best chance to get on the scoreboard came in the ninth minute of the second half when Nicolas Fleuriau-Chateau was sent in alone on Bulldogs' keeper Sacha Joly who sprinted out to confront Fleuriau-Chateau and turned his shot away.
Five minutes later, Essindi put the game out of reach when he was award a penalty
kick after he was brought down in the Cougars' penalty area.
The final score could have been much higher if not for Young. The Grade 9 keeper was pressed into action after their regular keeper, Juliann Lacasse, had to be scratched from the lineup due to an injury she suffered in a previous game. >He turned away Stenzel Ripemntoum on a break in the 18th minute of the second half and Guylain Kamo with two minutes left to play in the game.
After the trophy presentation, Bulldogs head coach Carlos Condé praised his players for coming together and peaking in the biggest game of the season.
"They finally came together as a team and the result showed," said Condé.
"We have a lot of quality players, but they need to play as a unit to be a quality team and today they showed that."
The Bulldogs strategy heading into the game was to stretch out the Cougars'
defence by playing the ball down the wings and then exploiting the gaps it
created in the middle.
Colonel By didn't do themselves any favours by also playing a high line on
defence. The combination of being strung out across the entire width of the pitch and playing a high line lead to several breakdowns which the Bulldogs were able to take advantage of to great success, resulting in the 5-0 win and the senior boys Tier 1 championship.
| Team roster: Astel Essindi, Cyrann Essindi, Emile Leonhardt, Guylain Kamo, Jakob Dubé, Jérémy Dubé, Julien Bolduc, Luis Dominguez, Nicolas Brazeau, Olivier Leonhardt, Sacha Joly, Thomas Joly, Serge Aluma Amani, Stenzel Ripemntoum, Thierry Condé and Tristan Paventi. Head coach Carlos Condé. Assistant coach Kristina Sarazin. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO