The W.H. Croxford Cavaliers started the 2022 high-school boys’ soccer season on a high note, beating the Cochrane Cobras 2-1 on April 28 at Monklands Park.
According to Cavaliers assistant coach Matt Smith, the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) season-opener marked the first time the Cavaliers have come out on top against the Cobras in a boys’ soccer match.
“Honestly, for us, this was one of the biggest games we were looking forward to,” he said. “We’re just elated because we’d never beaten Cochrane before. That was a huge plus, so our guys were thrilled.”
The Cobras opened the scoring with a goal in the first 15 minutes from midfielder Clay Grattidge, but the Cavaliers equalized thanks to a free kick goal that was put home by Mo Alsalahat. The two teams went into the half-time break tied at one goal apiece.
Croxford took the lead in the second half after a Cobras defender conceded a penalty kick by touching the ball with his hand in the box. Philip Assabil stepped up for the Cavaliers and slotted the ball past Cochrane goalkeeper Jeremy Meyers.
The Cobras pressed for the remainder of the game, but the Cavaliers defence managed to soak up the pressure and hold out for the three points.
“We had a few other top-bar opportunities and break-away opportunities, but my favourite part of the whole game was watching our guys make connections on the field,” Smith said. “Their touches to each other and their movement throughout the entire game were graceful. They passed the ball around like they’d been playing together for years, and it was wonderful to see.”
With one win in the bank already, Smith said he is excited to see how the rest of the season progresses for the Cavaliers. He noted many of Croxford’s competitive club players tried out for the school's soccer team this year, which he said will add to the team’s competitiveness.
“This year, we have had such an amazing group of guys come out from a wide variety of the clubs around Airdrie and Calgary,” he said. “We have Foothills players, Rangers players, Blizzards players – it’s awesome to see all those different club kids come together. It makes for an amazing roster.”
In other local high-school soccer results on Thursday, the the Bert Church Chargers held off the Chestermere Lakers to win 2-0, while the Springbank Phoenix (the defending RVSA champion from 2019) thumped the Bow Valley Bobcats 13-0.
The Phoenix’s heavy-handed victory over the Bobcats aside, Smith said he predicts plenty of parity in the RVSA this spring – something that was lacking in previous years, when one or two of the teams were head-and-shoulders above the rest of the pack.
“I feel like this year, a lot of our Airdrie players who play for competitive teams in Calgary have really decided to step up for their school teams,” he said. “[That’s with] Bert church and George Mac as well.
“The Chestermere-Bert Church game was only 2-0, so I’m looking forward to seeing how all these games play out. There are a lot of really high-calibre players turning out this year.”
The RVSA season will resume on May 5. For a full schedule of public high-school soccer games this spring, visit rvsa.rockyview.ab.ca. Matches typically take place Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. Airdrie home teams play at the Monklands Park fields.
As for Airdrie's other high-school boys' soccer team, the St. Martin de Porres Kodiaks have also begun their 2022 boys’ soccer season. After four matches, the Kodiaks are sporting a 3-1-0 record in Division 3 of the Calgary Senior High School Athletics Association.
Their next game will be on May 10 against John G. Diefenbaker at the St. Martin de Porres field. Kick-off will be at 4:30 p.m.