Central picked up a pair of victories in the regional playdown provincial qualifier on Saturday at Sunningdale Field, taking a 5-1 victory over Regina Luther in the semifinal and downing Regina Laval 2-0 in the regional title game.
As Laval had upset provincial hosts Yorkton Sacred Heart 2-1 in the semifinal, the regional final was a must-win to advance, and the Cyclones made no mistake, scoring goals in each half on their way to the crucial victory.
“We played very well, in the first half we went out there and wanted to play a high press because we’d never done it before and just keep them under pressure, and we did a good job with it, I think it went really well,” said Grade 12 veteran Logan Cushway. “Then the second half we just played defence and kept the ball and played around them. Sadly we couldn’t get more goals than we had, but we’re still pretty happy with the win and now we’re going to provincials.”
Landon Meacher scored for Central in the first half and Sifiya Benson Muya added their insurance marker after the break.
A key component of the victory was the Cyclones’ depth, as the later stages of the game saw Central roll in a host of players off their bench, with little drop-off on the yield.
“The end of the second half was amazing,” lauded senior Mohamed Abdela. “We have some players who don’t play as much but they were out there and playing so well, guys I didn’t even know could play like that were just amazing out there.”
Now, it’s off to the big dance, where the Cyclones will be joined by Sacred Heart alongside Region A champion North Battleford John Paul II and runner-up Martensville.
“Obviously we all want to go to provincials and that’s the goal, now that we’ve made it we’ll just keep practicing this week and do what we can to bring it home,” Cushway said.
After coming so close to the title the last two times the tournament was held, this time around the goal is gold or nothing.
“Oh yeah,” Abdela said with a grin. “The past two times we’ve went, in Grade 9 we got silver, Grade 10 we got silver and Grade 11 we didn’t even get a season. And this year, I so want to win. It’s the last year for both of us and gold would be so nice.”