Photo by ASHLI BARRETT/Advocate Staff

Cougars sweep soccer finals

Winning is great, but rebuilding the overall competitive state of soccer in Red Deer and Central Alberta is more important to Humberto Aspillaga. With his Notre Dame Cougars up 4-0 over the Lacombe Rams in the Central Alberta High School Soccer League championship final Saturday at Edgar Park, Aspillaga pulled many of his starters and went with younger players.

Winning is great, but rebuilding the overall competitive state of soccer in Red Deer and Central Alberta is more important to Humberto Aspillaga.

With his Notre Dame Cougars up 4-0 over the Lacombe Rams in the Central Alberta High School Soccer League championship final Saturday at Edgar Park, Aspillaga pulled many of his starters and went with younger players.

The Rams rallied with three unanswered goals, but the Cougars rebounded for a 7-4 victory and a second successive league title.

“One of the issues I can see is we need to build again the football, the soccer, in Red Deer,” said Aspillaga. “If I put all the time my stronger players (on the pitch) and we won, then it’s no fun, right?

“It used to be real good times when Red Deer have two clubs, there were lots of people going to the Collicutt (Centre) and we build some rivalry by being against each other, but also I think by being competitive. When someone blew away another team, it’s not fun, so we allowed our Grade 10s and Grade 11s to play today.”

Aspillaga credited the Rams for cutting the deficit to a goal and then getting the score to 5-4 before giving up a pair of late markers.

“The other team played real hard to come back. They did a great job,” said the Cougars sideline boss.

Aspillaga clearly had a dedicated group during a season in which the Cougars lost just once. In fact, the players showed their passion for the game by kick-starting their training in February.

“We started running in the morning at 7. We run for an hour, do some exercises and then go to classes,” said Aspillaga. “We have built quality soccer at Notre Dame so every year we are doing well. For the last three to four years we are doing well.”

Ben Anderson paced the Cougars with three goals, while game MVP Theoren Gill netted a pair and Jose Posada and Rayden Crawley also scored. Christu Moo had two goals for the Rams, who got singles from Eduardo Morales and David Luymes.

Notre Dame reached the final with a 5-1 win over the Hunting Hills Lightning, getting goals from Gill, Posada, Anderson, Keegan Reid and Vezo Gama. Luke Beasley scored in a losing cause.

Lacombe beat Central Alberta Christian 3-1 in the other semifinal. Luymes, Moo and Sam Haeflinger scored for the Rams, with Brendan Van Doesburg replying for CACHS.

Hunting Hills defeated CACHS 2-1 in overtime to take third-place honours. Eric Gopal and Jaeden Smith scored for the Lightning and Van Doesburg answered for the Knights.

In boys B-side play, Olds downed Sylvan Lake 3-1 in the final. Jaden Mulholland, game MVP Talon Grenier and Ty Smith were the Olds marksmen, while Aiden Smail scored for the Lakers.

In semifinal play, Olds beat Innisfail 2-1 in overtime and Sylvan Lake got by the Lindsay Thurber Raiders 2-1 on penalties.

Jaemin Kim netted both goals for Olds, with Simon Bigger replying for Innisfail. Cody Rumboldt scored in regulation time for Sylvan Lake and Eduardo Colunga Fierro answered for Thurber.

The Raiders, with Colunga Fierro netting two goals and Gustavo Portugal and Navada White also connecting, downed Innisfail 4-1 in the consolation game. Bigger scored in a losing cause.

l Earlier, the Notre Dame Cougars girls successfully defended their league championship with a 4-3 win over the Lindsay Thurber Raiders in a game that was decided by penalty kicks.

“It was really tiring. You’re almost crying, then cheering, then almost crying,” said Cougars co-coach Kelsey Paetz, whose team scored a tying goal late in regulation time, then won on penalty kicks following 10 minutes of scoreless extra time.

“It was crazy,” added Paetz, whose mother Laurna also coaches the team. “Our girls really came together as a team. We haven’t had a lot of turnout during the season, so when they actually act like best friends on the field it makes me happy.”

Renee Harder, Nicole Freidl and Kelsie Caine had regulation-time goals for the champs, who completed an undefeated season. Answering for the Raiders were Lizzy Morneault, Tanis Sudlow and Kiera Fujimoto.

Notre Dame keeper Chelsea Antonio, who prolonged the game by stopping a Raiders attempt immediately after one of her teammates fired high during the shootout, was named MVP of the contest.

“It’s going to be sad when the Grade 12 girls leave for college, but we’ll still have a good team next year and we’ll bring it back even harder,” said Paetz, looking forward to the 2015 season.

Freidl and Carley Dwyer were the Cougars’ snipers in a 2-0 semifinal win over Sylvan Lake, while the Raiders got goals from Fujimoto, Sudlow, Morneault, Rachelle Doyon and Abbey Martin in a 5-1 victory over Hunting Hills. Rowen Cheney scored for the Lightning.

Lacombe, with Bronwyn Pfeilfle finding the back of the net twice and Heidi Giles adding a goal, blanked Hunting Hills 3-0 in the third-place game.

Nikki Ubels, selected as game MVP, fired all three goals for Central Alberta Christian as the Knights defeated Sylvan Lake 3-1 in the B-side final. Aubri Webster scored for the Lakers.

Just Posted

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Art on Red Deer billboard a reminder of aboriginal women’s strength

Joane Cardinal-Schubert’s image is part of Resilience Project, shown from coast to coast

Red Deer’s new ‘equity co-ordinator’ will promote tolerance

Andrea Lacoursiere was hired by city with Alberta Human Rights funding

More bridge work this summer in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

The park’s north bridge is being rebuilt to ensure safety

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber falls to Bryce Harper in Home Run Derby final

WASHINGTON — Nationals Park was eerily quiet late Monday when Kyle Schwarber… Continue reading

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month