Nick Butterfield scored three times for the Central Cyclones as they took a 3-1 victory over the Peacock Tornadoes during high school soccer’s opening contests on Saturday.
Given the powerhouse program the defending provincial champion Cyclones have put together, it would have been easy to expect a commanding win in their opener. But a close game and quality competition from the Tornadoes made things all the more interesting right from the opening whistle.
“Peacock played a fantastic game, they were great to watch and it was super fun, they were definitely a challenge,” said Cyclones coach Jason Brown. “You can never take anything for granted. You’re always hopeful (for a good season), but you never know until you step on the field. Having an opponent like that just shows how hard you have to work in order to play well.”
The Cyclones took a 1-0 lead out of the first half before Butterfield completed his hat trick and Tata Mugisha added Peacock’s lone marker.
“It was hard work,” Brown said of the key to victory. “That’s what it kind of came down to, the boys went out there and worked hard and were rewarded for it… The win is nice and all but we have quite a bit of stuff we have to work on. But it’s a stepping stone, like it always is.”
Seeing things so close in the early part of the season – and especially with how they started out in the game – was plenty positive for Tornadoes coach Jordan Jeffery.
“We should have been four or five up before they scored, really, that’s the difference in who takes chances and who doesn’t,” Jeffery said “It was a pretty even game, I think we edged them in the first half but we just didn’t have the stamina in the second half to keep up with them at times. Then instead of keeping the ball and making them work, some of the boys seemed to be like ‘I’m not going to close my area, I’ll let them have the ball’. But that’s something we can work on, for sure.”
Like every team in the early part of the season, the Tornadoes are still in a bit of evaluation mode heading into league games later this week. As a result, the scores aren’t as important as putting together a solid effort.
“We’re not thinking about results at this point, we’re thinking about the playoffs,” Jeffery said. “We’ve only had a couple days of practice, so we’ll be looking for results in three or four more weeks when we’re closer to playoffs and that’s our focus this year.”
League action continues Wednesday, Sept. 11 as the Cyclones take on Swift Current in a rematch of last season’s league championship final.