The Notre Dame Cougars girls soccer team completed the perfect season Saturday in a rain soaked Central Alberta High School Soccer League final.
They topped the Lindsay Thurber Raiders 2-1 in extra time of a thrilling championship match, one that was played through cold and extremely wet conditions.
The extra time goal, scored by Emily Downey, her second of the game went in after a cross narrowly missed and struck the post before Downey tapped it in.
Elation, exhaustion and pride were the emotions that came to mind for coach Laurna Paetz.
“Oh gosh that was nerve-racking. We’ve got the dream team. They worked hard. It’s cold for both sides. It’s tough. Our girls deserved it, they worked hard all year,” Paetz said post game.
Co-captain Lexi Kowalchuk added that even with the weather the way it was, her team was able to find that little bit of extra effort to close out the win.
“You push through, you just want to win, it’s cold for them too so you can’t really use that for an excuse,” Kowalchuk said.
Notre Dame finished the regular season 8-0, with 39 goals for an only two against. Paetz said the season overall was an incredible accomplishment by a group that had pretty much been together since grade 10.
“They play as a team, they’re a fantastic team,” she said about the perfect season.
“Kelsey (Paetz) and I have been coaching since they started in grade 10 and to see them now, they’ve built as a team and to lose them will be really tough. They’ll be successful where ever they go next year.”
Goalie Erin Gill, who made several big saves in the final said the win was a little bit bittersweet because it was the last game together for most of the team.
“It’s a little tough, but a good way to end it. We’ve come in second all the other years so to win this year is pretty awesome,” she said.
Paetz was also complimentary of the Raiders, who gave the Cougars one of their closest matches of the season.
It couldn’t have been a better matchup in bad conditions. Both teams, it was solid all the way through. They were great opponents today,” she added.