Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
Lethbridge – With playoff positioning on the line the Lethbridge Pronghorns closed out the Canada West conference schedule with a 2-0 win over the Mount Royal Cougars.
Entering the final game of the conference schedule, the Mount Royal Cougars sat two points ahead of the Pronghorns for fourth place in the Prairie Division, while the Pronghorns also had the Manitoba Bisons nipping at their heels for fifth. With the win, the Pronghorns finish the regular season with a 5-7-2 record and in fourth place. The Pronghorns will travel to Langley to face the Fraser Valley Cascades in the Canada West women's soccer play-in game. The winner of that game will face the Trinity Western Spartans in the quarter-final Saturday.
The Loss drops the Cougars to 4-6-4 and fifth place in the Prairie Division. The Cougars will travel to Edmonton to face the MacEwan Griffins in the play-in game with the winner taking on the Prairie Division leading Alberta Pandas in a quarter-final match-up.
Playing in her final home game as a Pronghorn, Nikki Furukawa scored the lone goal of the opening half 14 minutes in. Taking a pass from fellow fifth-year Kayla Blacquiere, Furukawa's long range strike just cleared the outstretched arms of Cougar keeper Cailyn Leeson. The goal was Furukawa's fourth of the season.
At the half, the Pronghorns had nine shot attempts to the Cougars six but the Cougars were the more accurate of the two teams, forcing 'Horns keeper Micaela Stone to make five saves in the half, but the majority of them were of the routine variety. Leeson was credited with three first half saves.
Early in the second half, substitute Nicole Byford looked to double the Pronghorn lead but her volley from just outside the box just slid wide of the far post.
Only minutes later, senior's Furukawa and Blacquiere connected again but this time it was Furukawa feeding Blacquiere. Blacquiere turned in the Cougars penalty area and roofed a shot from in tight.
Cougars best chance in the second half came minutes after Cougar leading scorer Erin Holt subbed into the game. Holt swung a ball from the left flank and Stone had to dive to knock the ball into touch.
At full time, the Pronghorns had 14 shots attempts to the Cougars 10.
Also playing in her final home game as a Pronghorns, Micaela Stone finished with eight saves to earn her fourth shutout of the season. Her counterpart, Cailyn Leeson was credited with three saves.
In addition to Furukawa, Blacquiere and Stone playing their final home games as a Pronghorn today, Raeleen Vanden Dungen also played her final home game, while Jesse Dueck will also graduate after this season missed today's game due to injury.
Returning to the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, the Pronghorns beat the Fraser Valley Cascades 5-0 earlier this season in Lethbridge and battled the top seeded Trinity Western Spartans to a 2-0 loss.