Cathedral defense, rain slows Cougar attack

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, November 14, 2023

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BROOKHAVEN — Soccer players endured a cold soaking rain Tuesday night in a MAIS non-district matchup between Cathedral and Brookhaven Academy. Brookhaven Academy finished the game with a ton of scoring chances but just two goals in a 2-0 win over Cathedral. 

Brookhaven Academy’s Cooper Strickland scored the first goal of the game on a short range chance in the 18 yard box. Yohan Hernandez scored the second goal of the game and slid on the wet grass in celebration. In the first half, Brookhaven Academy Head Coach Alex Brown said his team should have scored more goals. 

A few shots ricocheted off of the post or players took an unselfish route to square away another pass and squander a chance to score a goal. Senior Matt Newman had a good view of the game from center midfield. 

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“It was cold and wet and the game was fast. It was hard to control the ball but I think we let it get way too slow at times,” Newman said. “We had 35 shots on goal and that’s not counting the shots that hit defenders or missed the target. We were wanting to get more goals tonight. Their team was slower paced and we played down to their speed.” 

Englishman Noah Fisher-Butler could be heard on the pitch telling players to speed up passes and decision making. Any hesitation by Cougar players allowed the veteran Cathedral defense to get into position and thwart chances. 

Cathedral Head Coach Dennis Hogue said his defensive back line is made up of mostly seniors. The Green Wave’s goalkeeper is senior Chance Bertelsen. He made some great saves to keep his team in the game. 

Some Cathedral players with drenched hair and uniforms looked miserable playing in the rain. Bertelsen had a grin as he slid out to meet attackers or collect crosses. 

“I like playing in the rain a lot better. The ground is soft and you can slide around. My gloves don’t have any grip anyway so it doesn’t bother me whereas other goalkeepers may have a challenge,” Bertlesen said. “I like rainy weather. I hate the heat and rather be cold.” 

Brookhaven Academy sure kept him busy for most of the night. Cathedral had a few scoring chances in the second half as Green Wave players started to launch little counter attacks. Brookhaven Academy was able to usher out any threats to their 2-0 lead and see out the game. 

Players slipped and slid all over the pitch. Touches were not as clean as they normally are and the ball acted differently than it had before. Newman said the slick conditions did change the Cougars game approach. 

“We needed to keep the ball on the ground. We didn’t do a good job of that tonight and the ball was hard to control,” Newman said. “We need to work on our finishing. We need to work on playing at our own pace and don’t let other teams dictate our tempo. This is the first time we have played or practiced in the rain in like three or four months so it was a learning experience for us. We will learn from tonight.”