BY ZACHARY CORMIER
It’s crunch time for the Lacombe Composite High School (LCHS) Rams soccer teams, as both the boys and girls look to brush up ahead of the Central Alberta High School Soccer League (CAHSSL) final tournament in Red Deer this weekend.
The LCHS girls got the week off to a flying start Tuesday evening, when they roared to their second win of the regular season, defeating the last place Hunting Hills High School Lighting 3-2 in Red Deer.
“Really good win for us. We’re just starting to kind of get our feet on the ground when it comes to positions and stuff, but really good win for us,” said Head Coach Randy Pfeifle after the win, which put the Rams at a 2-4-0 record heading into the weekend tournament.
A dominant first 20 minutes and solid passing and defense allowed the girls side to pick up the win.
“We have a couple of girls that have played some pretty high-end soccer, so having the middle and protecting it and being able to take care of the middle allows the other players to just relax and I think that was really what did it for us. The girls were a little more relaxed so we were able to make some plays and some passes,” Pfeifle said.
It didn’t take long for Lacombe to get on the board, as after a couple of chances, Kaitlen Swartz chipped the ball over top of Hunting Hills’ keeper Darbie Hauser around the 10 minute mark to give her team a 1-0 lead.
Later on in the half, the Rams got another boost as red hot midfielder Heidi Giles curled a shot from distance into the top corner for her team with her 13th goal of the season to make it 2-0 for the visiting team.
But it was Hailey Kenny’s goal early in the second half that would prove to be the decider.
Around the 65 minute mark, Kenny picked up the ball and dribbled it past the Lighting defender and fired a shot on goal just outside the Hunting Hills penalty area. Hauser charged out and managed to dive in front of the ball, but wasn’t able to control it, leaving a wide open rebound for Kenny to pick up and finish into the goal. 3-0 LCHS.
The Rams’ offensive production scaled back a little after that, though, allowing the Lighting to come back and grab a couple of late goals, including one in the 85th minute, but it wasn’t enough. Final score: 3-2 Lacombe.
Pfeifle said the win was a good example of where the team would like their play to be heading into the weekend.
“We’re not where we want to be as far as the games and winning, but as the team’s concerned, I think our team as a whole has improved. This was an example. The girls were really playing their positions well, defending well and making good clean passes.
“We’re not quite where we want to be but we’ll see what we can do this weekend.”
He added they have high expectations for their performance in the tournament.
“My expectations are that we’re going to come out and we’re going to play hard. You know what? I’d like to see us win it all, but if we play hard and we come out of it just feeling really good about ourselves and the way we’re playing our game, I’ll feel really good about that too.”
Meanwhile, the LCHS boys have proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the CAHSSL this season.
The boys side has been impressive, putting up a 4-2-2 record, which is good for a third place finish on the league table at the time of writing, including a 4-0 victory over Olds last Thursday night.
They’ve also been impressive both offensively and defensively, racking up 20 goals for and just nine goals against on the season, which puts them in good shape for the tournament, as they’ll play most of their games as the home team.
But even with their strong showing this season, the Rams haven’t quite been able to match up with their across town rivals at the Central Alberta Catholic High School.
The CACHS Knights have been unstoppable this season, racking up a perfect 8-0-0 record heading into the final weekend, while at the same time outscoring their opponents 40-5.
All three Lacombe soccer teams will be in action at the Collicutt Centre in Red Deer, this weekend, during the CAHSSL final tournament.