Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE – Playing the opening game of the Canada West women's soccer season for both teams and on the strength of late second half goal, the Mount Royal Cougar spoiled the Lethbridge Pronghorns 2018 home opener with a 1-0 win.
Robyn MacDonald came off the bench to score the lone goal of the game, while Cailyn Leeson registered 12 saves to earn the clean sheet. Making her first appearance for the Pronghorns, Chelsey Galbraith made 10 saves.
In the early going, Mount Royal created a couple of turnovers but were not able to capitalize and the Cougars first dangerous chance came a short time later. With a free kick just outside the box, Natalie De Marco eluded the Pronghorn wall but missed the net low left.
In the 24th minute the Cougars again had a free kick just outside the box but this time Quinn Hardstaff's shot missed to the right.
Continuing with offensive pressure, Erin Holt broke in on the left side but freshman goalkeeper Chelsey Galbraith made a nice sliding save to keep the game scoreless.
Finally getting some offensive pressure of their own, the Pronghorns had three consecutive corner kicks in a short span of time but were unable to take advantage of the opportunity.
At the half, shot attempts favored the Cougars 12 to 8, while the Pronghorns hit the net six times compared to the Cougars five. The Pronghorns also had four corners in the opening half, while the Cougars did not have an attempt in the half.
In the 59th minute, Cougar substitute Haley Nicholson nearly broke the deadlock but her shot from 35-yards out found the crossbar.
The Pronghorns came right back with a quality chance of their own. Newcomer Hailey Van Maanen eluded one Cougar defender and let a strike go from just inside the penalty area but Cougar keeper Cailyn Leeson was able to get a hand on the shot and deflect the ball into touch.
In the 77th minute, the Cougars finally broke the deadlock on a goalmouth scramble. Robyn MacDonald was Johnny-on-the-spot when a loose ball squirted out of the crowd and slotted home her first of season.
In the final minutes, the Pronghorns pushed forward but could not find the equalizer.
At the final whistle, the Cougars finished with 20 shot attempts with 11 finding the net compared to the Pronghorns, who attempted 17 shot with 12 finding the mark. The Pronghorns held a distinct advantage in the corner kick category, 7 to 2.
The Pronghorns will remain at home tomorrow, hosting the Alberta Pandas, kick-off is slated for noon. The Cougars return to Calgary and will play crosstown rival Calgary Dinos on the Dinos pitch.
Photo by: MPP Photography