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Timberwolves, Cougars play to 0-0 draw in rainy battle

It was rainy, hard-fought battle on the pitch, as the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves and Mount Royal Cougars played to a 0-0 draw in Prince George, on Sunday, September 22.

The Timberwolves came out with a different formation than they had played previously, and as a result, were able to confuse the Cougars slightly early on, resulting in some opportunities in the opening fifteen minutes. Jenna Wild, Paige Payne, and Ashley Volk all had shots, but MRU keeper Katrina Greenley was up to the task.

In the 23rd minute, Wild had a great opportunity to put the home side ahead, firing from 10 yards out, but Greenley was able to pop it just over the crossbar and out of play.

“I think we were a bit on our heels in that first ten or fifteen minutes,” said Greenley. “You have to make those saves when your team is a little nervous. It helped the team calm down, and from there, we started to keep possession more.”

The Cougars were held predominantly to the outside, but were able to test keeper Madi Doyle with shots from Hannah Park, Janai Martens, and Kaitlyn Clarke all on target. At halftime, Mount Royal held a 7-6 shot advantage.

“We were pretty strong in shutting them down, which was good, but we didn’t get the quality of chances we have gotten in past games,” said Mara McCleary. “The first half we were pretty strong, but we were happy about how we stayed calm.”

In the second half, the visitors did well to hem the Timberwolves into their own third for long stretches. The conditions didn’t lend themselves to connected, smooth football, and the TWolves found themselves on their heels.

Doyle did well to hold the fort, but faced threatening opportunities from Athena Fourlas and Talisa Tefledzuk in the late stages. The TWolves best chance came off the foot of Canada West all-star Paige Payne, but Greenley was there to make the save.

“I like the compete we showed today, keeping the ball in their half,” said MRU’s Quinn Hardstaff. “That’s the key going forward. Not give any time and space, and take any chance we can get to go forward and get some goals.”

When the final whistle sounded, the Cougars had outshot UNBC 9-7 in shots on goal. The draw moves the TWolves record to 3-1-2, while the Cougars now sit 0-5-1.

“Props to them. The entire second half, we were under pressure,” commented UNBC’s Kiana Swift. “They made it very difficult for us to play out of that. We tried going over top, and we tried going around. They messed with how we play.”

UNBC will hit the road next weekend to battle the UBCO Heat and TRU WolfPack, while the Cougars will host the Alberta Pandas and MacEwan Griffins.

“UBCO plays similarly to us, so that will be a challenge, and TRU plays very aggressively,” said Swift, postgame. “We just need to make sure we are sticking to our tactics. That is when we get the results we want.”

“We need to keep pressing and keep going,” said Greenley. “We need to keep moving forward. What we did in the second half today is exactly what we need to do against U of A and MacEwan. I think we can do it and I think we can win.”

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