Dan Khavkin, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY, AB - Mount Royal University Cougars finished off their all-Saskatchewan homestand with a four-point weekend on another Sunday morning against the Regina Cougars, drawing the game 1-1 on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon.
The weather played a huge factor in the first half, slowing the pace of the game tremendously with neither team being able to successfully create a chance against the other early on in the game.
Regina used a dump-and-chase tactic to speed by the MRU defence line in an attempt to find pockets of open space and followed up with driving in balls with pace.
In the 35th minute, Regina found the back of the net following a set-piece. Brianna Wright played a cross into the far post of MRU net. Her driven ball was put away by Sally Bachmann, who managed to find an empty pocket inside the six-yard box. The headed effort on net found the back of the netting and gave her side the first mark on the board.
MRU almost responded instantly when Caitlin Heim had the ball roll towards in a favourable area just minutes after the away goal. Heim teed up a shot from just inside Regina's half but the lobbed attempt sailed inches above the crossbar.
The final ticks of the first half had a dramatic finish. MRU was awarded a penalty after a Regina defender played a little too aggressive to the referee's liking. Centre-half Quinn Hardstaff stepped up to the spot but telegraphed her attempt as Regina keeper Ashton Lowry made a huge save to preserve their 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
In the second period, it was MRU who started stirring Regina's defence, resorting to shorter passing and following up with crosses. Regina held strong throughout the half but the home side Cougars finally broke through a parked Regina defence.
Regina held strong throughout the half but the home side Cougars finally broke through a parked Regina defence. Super-sub Hayley Nicholson managed to split the defence and wire a shot into the top corner to tie the game at 1-1. Following a foul just inside Regina's half, Hardstaff whipped the ball into a crowd of blue and white. Nicholson ended up with the ball on her foot after the scramble. She pulled a quick turn and saw an open lane, taking a few steps, the first-year capitalized on her chance from outside of the box.
MRU used the late momentum swing to their advantage when Julian Ramirez was on the edge of the six-yard box but Lowry caught the short-side shot.
An all-Cougars affair ended with points awarded to both sides with a final scoreline of 1-1.
Regina is still yet to pick up a win this season while MRU improves to 4-2-2 on the year and are unbeaten in their last three matches.
MRU will travel to University of Alberta's home ground against the Pandas on October 7th with kickoff ready for 12 pm MST. Regina host provincial rivals University of Saskatchewan on October 5th at 5 pm.