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Cougars Battle Back But Lose 4-3 to Thomas

(10/21/10) Clearwater Christian College lost 4-3 to Thomas University in a hard-fought match at Glen Oaks Park in Clearwater. Tyler Spraul led the Cougars with 1 goal and 2 assists in the loss, and Anthony DeRosse came up with several big saves to keep the Cougars in the match.

The Night Hawks came out strong in the first half, exerting pressure on the Cougar defense. Thomas went up in the 14th minute when Nathan Would scored off a slotted ball from Gary Watkins. The Cougars would come right back in the 23rd minute as Juan Robayo chipped the keeper off a through ball from Tyler Spraul. The tie wouldn't last long as Niall McCourt came right back and scored off a cross to put Thomas up 2-1 going into the half.

The Night Hawks would score 2 more goals midway through the 2nd half to go up 4-1 and appeared to have the match in hand. But the Cougars fought back and refused to quit. Carl Lassegue scored from close range off an assist from Spraul, and then Spraul would connect on a goal of his own to cut the lead to 4-3 with 16 minutes to play. Clearwater pushed hard to get the equalizing goal and send the game into overtime and had several quality chances from close range but were unable to capitalize.

Coach Whitaker commented on the effort of the Cougars: "I was really proud of the way our guys battled back tonight and went toe to toe with one of the best teams we have played all season. We knew this would be a tough game, and it was great to see the effort put in by our team tonight. Anthony was big again in the net for us, and it was good to see us pressure to create and finish opportunities against their defense. This game will really help us as we move into post-season play."

The Cougars will travel to Atlanta next to play for the NCCAA South Region Championship on Saturday, October 30 at noon against the winner of the region semi-final between Atlanta Christian and Toccoa Falls.