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Owls' squads ready for playoffs

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Anything can happen in the playoffs and both the Rainy River Owls' girls' and boys' soccer teams hope things will land in their favour this week.

The girls' squad ended the NorWOSSA 'A' regular season with a loss and a draw to the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (Kenora) in Red Lake last Wednesday and Thursday to see their record fall to 3-2-1.

That means the Owls finished in second place and will face the third-place Sioux Lookout Warriors in the semi-finals tomorrow afternoon in Kenora.

The winner will advance to earn the right to face the top-ranked Saints in the league final on Friday afternoon.

“We did well. There was no quit in the girls and we held them to one goal between the two games,” Owls' coach Rebecca Tolen said of last week's losses to the Saints.

"Our defence is strong, we just need to shoot more.

“For playoffs we are seeded second. We will play Sioux Lookout on Thursday and then if we are successful, T.A. on Friday,” she noted.

We should be in the final game. I am hopeful are defensive strength will continue, and that we will get more shots on net.

“My girls are more than capable to win,” she stressed.

The Owls opened play last Wednesday afternoon with a 1-0 shutout loss to the Saints in Red Lake.

Rainy River then battled St. Thomas Aquinas to a scoreless draw the following afternoon in the regular-season finale, again struggling to figure out the Saints' stingy defensive scheme.

“T.A. is dropping their whole team to play defence when the ball is in their end,” Tolen recalled.

“We need to take more shots from outside of the 18 [yard box]," she stressed. ”They have the box pretty jammed up.

“Against T.A., we covered for each other well. There were times T.A. deserved a goal but we were able to cover for each other and clear the ball,” she lauded.

Tolen feels that success in this week's playoffs against both the Warriors and Saints will hinge on scoring early and putting both teams on their heels.

“We have to win the semi-final in order to move on, so it will be starters at full strength to score early and hopefully get a few right away,” she noted.

"Then I will rest them. But you never know with soccer . . .

“In order to be successful, we need to hold them on defence, our goalie needs to be sharp, and we need to shoot," she stressed. "It's in our hands.”

The NWOSSAA championships then are slated for May 31-June 1 hosted by whoever wins the NorWOSSA final, with OFSAA to follow on June 6-8 in Ancaster.

As for the Owls' boys' squad, they ended the regular season with a pair of losses to the Saints and host Rams last week to see their record fall to 2-3-1.

That means Rainy River finished in third place and will square off against the second-place Rams in the semi-finals tomorrow afternoon in Kenora.

The top-ranked Saints will battle the fourth-place Warriors in the other semi-final tomorrow, with the winners to square off against each other in the final on Friday afternoon.

The Owls opened play last Wednesday afternoon with a 3-1 loss to the Saints, with Blake Ferris netting the squad's lone goal.

Rainy River then dropped a 4-1 decision to the host Rams the following afternoon in the regular-season finale to head into tomorrow's playoffs on a mini-slide.

Reece Chorney tallied the Owls' lone goal in that one.

The NWOSSAA championships are slated for May 31-June 1 at the home of the NSSSA winner, with OFSAA to follow on June 6-8 in Ancaster.

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