Slow starts have plagued Cowichan United this season, and the team paid for it in their most recent match.
The first-year U21 soccer team suffered its first loss in league play last Friday, a 3-0 defeat by Juan de Fuca on the grounds of Royal Bay Secondary School.
“We didn’t start the game very well,” coach Tyler Hughes acknowledged. “It’s a bad habit; in at least three games, we’ve let goals in, in the first eight or nine minutes.”
Against JDF, that first goal came in the third minute.
“It was a bit of a wakeup call,” Hughes said. “We slowly played our way into the game.”
Even though Cowichan started playing better, JDF still held a 2-0 edge at halftime.
“In the second half, we improved,” Hughes said. “We were playing a lot better. We had about 80 per cent of possession, but we didn’t create enough to really deserve a better result. I was a little bit disappointed, but it was a good learning experience for the group.”
Hughes chalked it up to growing pains for a team that is noticeably young, even for a U21 side.
“When you’ve got a group of young players in just about any sport, but in soccer for sure, playing at a high level on a consistent basis is something you have to learn,” he said.
On Wednesday evening, Cowichan squared off against Vic West’s Div. 2 team in a McGavin Cup semifinal at Victoria’s Adam Kerr Park. The victor will play the winner of the other semifinal between Gorge’s Div. 1 side and Fernwood’s Div. 2 entry.
Hughes has enjoyed his team’s run in the McGavin Cup tournament, which is open to all senior men’s teams in the VISL, with the exception of the top Div. 1 clubs.
“It’s been fun,” the coach said. “We’ve played well in the Cup. It’s fun playing against teams from different leagues.”
United will return to league play this Sunday when they visit Prospect Lake at Layritz Park.
“A few guys on the team played for Prospect Lake last year,” Hughes noted. “It should be a fun game for them.”