Notre Dame Cougar Erik Brezovan gets his foot on the ball as Lindsay Thurber Raider Zach Danchek covers while Raiders goalkeeper Tanner Smith guards the goal at Lindsay Thurber Tuesday. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Central Alberta High School Soccer League season rolling along

With the Central Alberta High School Soccer League already a week old on the girls side, the boys kicked off their regular season Monday and got rolling in Red Deer on Tuesday.

Lacombe opened the season in Sylvan Lake at H.J. Cody on Monday and grabbed a dominant 6-0 win to start the year. Daniel Szues netted a hat trick for the Rams with Issak Meadus, Nico Schlak and Enrico Kruger also adding goals.

At Lindsay Thurber Tuesday, the Notre Dame Cougars got off to a hot start with a 3-1 win over the Raiders. Notre Dame jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half on the strength of a penalty kick goal late, then took the wind out of the Lindsay Thurber sails with a strike top corner just inside the box near the end of the game.

Erik Brezovan, Matthew Hamonic and Osvaldo Aguila scored for Notre Dame while Grant Johnson scored for the Raiders.

“Excellent. We just started (the season), the players played well in the first half. In the second half there was a little bit of a lack of the winning mentality because we were winning 2-0,” Notre Dame head coach Humberto Aspillaga said. “When it was 2-1 we started playing better and then 3-1 was a good result for us.”

Aspillaga added he has high hopes for his squad this year with a number of returning players, but ultimately just wants the team to enjoy the game.

“We have good returning players in key positions, the defence are strong and are getting better,” he said. “I feel like enjoying the ball and enjoying the game is more important to me than winning everything. I don’t want a player to pass everybody and score, I want that player to become a team player and not an individual. That’s my goal as a coach.”

Raiders head coach Logan Grenier said while the first half was one to forget for his team, the push back in the latter stages of the game was encouraging to see.

“We were two different teams in either half. Made a little adjustment at halftime with our shape and I think it really paid off,” he said.

“The boys kept running and kept going and had a couple unlucky chances. (Notre Dame) were on their heels for most of the second half and we couldn’t quite capitalize, then that late goal was a nail in coffin.”

Grenier added that overall, he hopes his team can embrace a simple message in order to be successful this season.

I hope it’s our effort and our work ethic,” Grenier said about his team’s strength.

“I always want to be the hardest working team, that’s a goal we set each and every game and with the guys we’ve got, they are buying into that system and the team.

“So, I think it’s a realistic goal and it’s something we can always win no matter what. We’ve got some good leaders and quality players so we can play through them.”

On the girls side, the Notre Dame Cougars were also strong to open the year with two wins in week one. They took down H.J Cody to open the year, then downed Lindsay Thurber in game two.

The Lacombe girls squad is also 1-0 on the year, collecting a 5-0 win in their opening game. The Rams won on Tuesday against H.J. Cody, with Cassie Burroughs, Kaitlin Swartz and Acasia Sproule scoring.

Hunting Hills won their only game on the girls side with a 7-1 win over H.J. Cody. Bailey Johnson had a hat trick, Melena Fisher added two goals and Lorena Jimenez and Alex Fortney had one each.

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