Cougars roar to soccer title

Humberto Aspillaga did what all good coaches do — he used his best player to his team’s ultimate advantage Saturday.

Lindsay Thurber defender Kristi Lem

Lindsay Thurber defender Kristi Lem

Cougars 2 Raiders 1

Humberto Aspillaga did what all good coaches do — he used his best player to his team’s ultimate advantage Saturday.

The Notre Dame Cougars sideline boss moved Cory Van der Voort into an offensive role in the second half of the Central Alberta High School Soccer League girls’ championship final at RDC and the switch paid off big time. Van der Voort pulled the Cougars even with the Lindsay Thurber Raiders 28 minutes into the second half, and Kelsey Paetz scored the winner two minutes later as Notre Dame posted a 2-1 victory.

“Cory, the best player in the game, was playing defensive. We changed it for her to go forward and she scored the first goal,” said Aspillaga, the first-year Cougars girls’ coach.

The Cougars fell 2-0 to the Raiders in regular-season play and Lindsay Thurber was poised to defend its league title when Melissa McLellan scored in the final minute of the first half of Saturday’s final.

“I think the other team was well-coached, as well,” said Aspillaga. “They were playing wide and it’s nice to see in Red Deer that coaches are starting to teach players to play wide and penetrate from the side, all the balls to the middle.”

The Cougars advanced with a semifinal win over the Hunting Hills Lightning, then got to play the championship match in front of a decent gathering at the RDC pitch.

“It’s nice to play and to win a championship in front of all these fans,’ said Aspillaga.

“It’s important to support the soccer in Red Deer, and we’re seeing better and better soccer. I hope that is continuing. I would like to see that support all year, not just three to four weeks into the season.”

Aspillaga was careful not to give himself too much credit.

“It’s not coaching most of the time. We talk about coaching and winning, but it’s not the coaches, it’s the players,” he said. “As coaches, we can lose a game, but the players are the real winners. Those (girls), they worked very hard. We played two excellent games with the semifinal and the final.

“This (championship win) was well deserved. We moved the ball well to the outside, the wide area. It was a close game, 1-0 starting the second period, but then we were lucky enough to score two goals.”

In the boys’ final, defending champion Lindsay Thurber toppled Notre Dame 3-0 as keeper Brody Slagman not only posted the shutout, but scored once — from his own side of midfield in the 21st minute— and assisted on a header goal by Hayden Slaymaker in the 77th minute.

Jon Wecker netted the other Raiders goal, in the 25th minute.

“We had a little bit of motivation. These guys ruined the perfect season we had going,” said Raiders coach Rene Vandervlis, in reference to a 1-0 regular-season loss to Notre Dame.

“We took them lightly the first time and the kids vowed not to do that today. We were a determined bunch.”

The Hunting Hills Lightning defeated Olds 3-1 in the bronze-medal game as Shane Gasser, Nicu Ruicea and Luis Lima each scored a goal. Barint Kele replied for Olds.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sharis Carr, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., holds a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine that was administered to seniors, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. A second COVID-19 vaccine is being investigated for possible links to blood clots, though the syndrome appears to be extremely rare. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rogelio V. Solis
Canada receives report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

OTTAWA — A Quebec woman is the first in Canada to develop… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney struck back at unruly protesters who chanted ‘lock her up’ in relation to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw on Monday. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Alberta Premier calls for ‘unhinged conspiracy theorists’ to stop threatening the chief medical officer

Spreading misinformation, making threats is ‘beyond the pale,’ said Kenney

An internal investigation by AHS revealed 3,224 patients had their electronic health records accessed improperly by two clerical employees in the diagnostic imaging department at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Employees access 3K patients’ records in privacy breach at Red Deer hospital

3,224 patients had their electronic health records accessed improperly

The Red Deer Boxing Club will be moving to a larger space, in North Red Deer. The programs need more room to grow, says founder Robert Carswell. (Photo by LANA MICHELIn/Advocate staff).
Red Deer Boxing Club is moving to north industrial site

The property was rezoned to accommodate recreational uses

An Air Canada Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet arrives at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Air Canada agrees to $5.9-billion aid package, giving Ottawa equity stake in airline

$1.4 billion earmarked to help reimburse thousands of customers

An emergency response worker carries an air monitoring device at the site of a crude oil spill at a Trans Mountain Pipeline pump station in Abbotsford, on Sunday, June 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Failed fitting caused 190,000-litre spill at Trans Mountain site in B.C.: TSB

VANCOUVER — A Transportation Safety Board report says the failure of a… Continue reading

Indigenous leaders, experts urge Ottawa to quickly pass UNDRIP bill before election

OTTAWA — Indigenous leaders and legal experts are pushing federal lawmakers to… Continue reading

Visitors to a roadside memorial pay their respects in Portapique, N.S., on Friday, April 24, 2020. The Canadian Red Cross confirmed today it has collected $6.2 million in donations to help the families in rural Nova Scotia affected by the mass shooting last spring that claimed 22 lives. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Red Cross collects $6.2 million for families affected by Nova Scotia mass shooting

HALIFAX — Canadians and people from around the world donated $6.2 million… Continue reading

Hindu devotees wearing face masks as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus stand in a queue to offer prayers inside a temple dedicated to goddess Kali in Jammu, India, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. New infections have surged in the past month and India has now reported over 13.6 million cases — pushing its toll past Brazil, and making it second only to the United States. In the past 24 hours, over 160,000 new infections have been detected and experts fear that the worst is yet to come. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Johnson & Johnson delays shot rollout in Europe

BERLIN — Johnson & Johnson says it is delaying the rollout of… Continue reading

Restaurant workers and restaurant delivery workers wait in line to sign up for Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccine site, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in the Sunset Park neighborhood of New York. The mobile vaccination effort includes two buses equipped with four to six vaccinators each, delivering the COVID-19 vaccine directly to communities most in need. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose… Continue reading

FILE-Team Canada’s Meaghan Mikkelson fights for control of the puck with U.S.A.’s Hayley Scamurra during third period of Women’s Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s national teams, hopes a Rivalry Series against the United States can happen this winter.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer
Canadian women’s hockey team to open selection camp in Nova Scotia

Six goaltenders, 15 defenders and 26 forwards will vie for spots on Canada’s 23-player roster

FILE - Rhian Wilkinson, left, and Melissa Tancredi of Canada’s women’s soccer team attend a news conference in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 to announce their retirement from the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Former Canadian international Rhian Wilkinson now part of England coaching setup

Wilkinson left Canada Soccer in January to join interim England head coach Hege Riise as an assistant

Canadian actor/producer/director Jay Baruchel is photographed at the 5 Drive-In Theatre in Oakville, Ont., ahead of the premier of Baruchel’s movie Random Acts of Violence, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
Jay Baruchel to host Amazon Prime Video’s ‘LOL: Last One Laughing Canada’

Final comedian left standing wins a grand prize for a charity of their choice

Most Read