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Phoenix beat Cavaliers in semi-final match, set up final against Cochrane

Under a cloudy, granite coloured sky, the first-place Springbank Phoenix closed out the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers in extra time, 4-3.

The 2024 Rocky View Schools Sports Association (RVSSA) soccer championship matchup is now set after the Springbank Phoenix edged the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers in a semi-final game on May 30.

Under a cloudy, granite coloured sky, the first-place Springbank Phoenix closed out the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers in extra time, 4-3.

The win sets up a league final matchup versus the Cochrane Cobras. 

Coming into Thursday night's game, the Cavaliers could have been seen as underdogs; the two and four Cavs finished three places back of the Phoenix who, after dropping their first game of the season, ended the 2024 campaign on a five-game winning streak. 

On Tuesday, while the Cavaliers made easy work of the Bow Valley Bobcats in their first-round matchup while the Phoenix enjoyed a day of rest afforded to them as the league’s top regular season team. 

The Phoenix ended the season a three-way tie for first place alongside the Bert Church Chargers and the Cochrane Cobras. A greater score differential and a won tie-breaker meant the Phoenix were slotted as the first-seed, with the Chargers behind them in second, thus forcing the Cobras to play a quarter final playoff game against George McDougall-- a game the Cobras won 2-1. 

On May 7, at Springbank's Park for All Seasons, the Phoenix hosted the Cavaliers for the first of two times in 2024. In that game the Phoenix squeaked out a 2-1 victory– the only game all season, aside from their 3-2 loss to Bert Church to begin the year, where the Phoenix and their opponent would be separated by only one goal. 

During the May 30 game, the Phoenix drew first blood against the Cavaliers, rocketing a shot off a post and redirecting the inbound shot into the open Croxford net. Minutes later a Phoenix striker dribbled the ball through a half dozen Croxford defenders, deked out the diving goalkeeper and sent the ball into the open net to make it 2-0.

The Phoenix added another goal off a long penalty kick to make it 3-0 before halftime.

In a sign of things to come, before the stoppage at the 45-minute mark, a Croxford player booted the ball from near the centre field marker, redirecting it off a stationary Phoenix defender into the open Springbank net. 

Moments into the second half, the Cavaliers added another goal with a quick shot after a scramble in front and tied the game with a header off an inbound kick. The game would need extra time.

Halfway through the first extra time slot, the Phoenix collected the ball near the Croxford net, a player spun and passed the ball to an open teammate and a kick past a sprawling Cavaliers keeper put the Phoenix on top with only minutes left in the extra time. 

The Phoenix, who established dominant ball control all game, kept the Cavaliers from mounting a last-ditch effort at a desperate comeback by forcing the ball out of bounds at any chance they got. 

The final whistle blew to put the game away; a 4-3 victory of the Springbank Phoenix, setting up a championship matchup with the Cochrane Cobras who, at Monklands Field in Airdrie, had dashed the championship ambitions of the Bert Church Chargers in a 3-2 game that ended in a climactic penalty kick. 

On June 4, the Chargers and Cavaliers will play for bronze at Monklands Field, which will also host the championship game between Springbank and Cochrane right after. The day's two games start at 4 p.m. with the kickoff of the bronze medal match.


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