Ashley Stultz and Ali Garnett pursue the ball during the Cowichan Cougars’ cup game against Vic West last Sunday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Ashley Stultz and Ali Garnett pursue the ball during the Cowichan Cougars’ cup game against Vic West last Sunday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan Cougars advance in Shergold Cup play

Cowichan United ends season with a win in round-robin

The Cowichan Cougars have advanced to the knockout round of the Stephanie Shergold Cup tournament following a 3-0 win over Vic West’s Div. 2 team at the Sherman Road turf on Sunday afternoon.

The Cougars wasted no time, scoring their first goal within the first two minutes, although it was called back due to a foul on the play. They kept up the pressure, however, and were rewarded when Jenna Waddy scored one that counted in the eighth minute. That was all the scoring for the first half, although both teams created multiple chances.

Cowichan doubled their lead on a goal by Christine Switzer in the 55th minute.

“It was a great play from Jenna and Stacey,” Switzer remarked. “I just wanted to get a foot on it to get the ball in the net.”

Even after the Cougars made it 3-0 on a penalty shot by Stacey de Lusignan, Vic West refused to five up, and kept up the pressure on goalkeeper Sara Tweten and the Cowichan defence.

“The last 10 minutes were really scrambly,” coach Darian Achurch admitted. “Sara made some amazing saves and our defensive line turned away lots of shots.”

After sweeping through pool play, the Cougars will face Gorge’s Div. 2 entry in the semifinals at Hampton Park this Sunday for a shot at the final.

Cowichan United ended their season on a high note with a 3-2 win over the PACE FC Wolfpack in Doug Day Cup play at UVic on Sunday.

PACE struck first on a questionable goal: Cowichan goalkeeper Tiara Enger blocked the ball out of bounds and was trying to bring it back in-bounds when a PACE player knocked the ball out of her hands and into the net. Even though the ball had gone out of bounds prior to the goal, the whistle had not been blown, so the goal was ruled good. Cowichan kept going and had several chances before Madison Szafranski scored on a cross from Alyssa Klotz in the 22nd minute. They took the lead eight minutes after that when Klotz stripped a defender on the wing and broke into the 18-yard box, rounding a defender before slotting the ball into the far corner of the net. PACE pushed back hard, but Cowichan carried the 2-1 lead into halftime.

Cowichan made it 3-1 early in the second when Szafranski scored on a corner kick from none other than Klotz. Defender Rachel Price had to leave with a knee injury in the 62nd minute, and PACE got one back shortly after that when a missed offside call led to the Cowichan defenders leaving a PACE forward wide open in the middle of the 18-yard box and she directed a header to the top corner. The teams traded chances down the stretch, but Enger held strong for Cowichan even as PACE was awarded a series of corners.

“I was really impressed by the urgency of the ladies today,” coach Adam Paulson commented. “We all wanted to end the year on a good note, and only the injury to Rachel put a damper on the effort put forth by the players. It has been an incredible year, and as we look forward to Div. 1 play next year, we can take heart that we beat a team that only lost five of 14 games in Div. 1 this year.

“It has been my privilege to coach the ladies this year, and I am excited to take on the challenge of a new division next year.”

Div. 3 team NIFA Pacific lost their second game of Frank Leversedge Cup round robin play on Sunday and was eliminated from the tournament.