The Cowichan 49ers beat rival UVic Alumni 2-0 in Tony Grover Cup masters soccer play at home on Saturday, Feb. 25.
“Last year, we had to travel to UVic to advance in the Grover Cup and won in penalties,” said team spokseperson Adam Taft. “We were expecting another tight match up this year.”
The conditions were not ideal as snow fell the entire match, covering the field, and obscuring visibility. As a result, it took a while for the first goal to be scored.
Both teams had a few chances in the first half; the 49ers with the better of them created a few near misses.
Darcy Penner broke the game open 15 minutes into the second half, at the 61-minute mark.
“We capitalized on some nice work from Brad Archibald on the right side, hitting a low dangerous cross into the box. Stu Barker got his foot on it, flicking it to the head of an on-rushing Darcy Penner, who made no mistake for the goal,” Taft explained.
Ryan Fusick netted Cowichan’s second of the game 80 minutes in.
Archibald again put a hard cross in the box and Fusick beat a UVic defender to the point of contact and headed a beauty into the bottom left corner to make it a 2-0 final.
“Ryan had a great game. He was our man of the match and the team fed off his energy,” Taft said.
Cowichan keeper Darian Achurch earned another shutout. The win pushed the defending champion 49ers deeper into Tony Grover Cup contention. They’ll face Prospect Lake Lakers at home on March 11 at 6 p.m. in semi-final action but not before the UVic Alumni are back at the Sherman Road turf for their last league game on March 4. Both matches kick off at 6 p.m.
Meanwhile, in Jackson Cup play, Cowichan Axis FC faced Lakehill in division one battle at the Sherman Road turf Feb. 24.
Lakehill went up by one goal 20 minutes in on a penalty kick but Cowichan countered five minutes later thanks to a Connor Crichton goal.
A Lakehill goal at the 28-minute mark proved the game winner, though, knocking Cowichan Axis out of Jackson Cup contention. The lads play twice more in league play, first on March 4 away in Powell River before wrapping up their regular season on March 17 at home against Nanaimo United. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.