Cowichan Cougars defender Joeleen Achurch gets in the way of a Gorge player during Sunday’s game. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan Cougars defender Joeleen Achurch gets in the way of a Gorge player during Sunday’s game. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan Cougars edged in home opener

The Cowichan Cougars’ long-delayed home opener in the over-30A women’s soccer season didn’t go as planned.

The Cougars went into their first game at Evans Park unbeaten with three ties so far, and took an early 1-0 lead over Gorge FC on a goal by Stacey DeLusignan, but it didn’t hold up. Gorge turned up the pressure right away and put Cowichan into defensive mode for the rest of the first half.

“Play in the second half opened up some,” Cougars sweeper Courtenay McGeachy commented. “They had chances but we also could have scored our second goal too.”

Gorge broke the standoff, taking advantage of a turnover and drilling the ball off the crossbar and past backup goalkeeper Jen Mann, who managed to get a hand on it but not enough to turn it aside. In the 87th minute, a harmless-looking shot from Gorge slipped past the Cowichan defence and goalkeeper, putting the Cougars behind in a game for the first time this season. Try as they might, the Cougars couldn’t muster another goal.

“I was proud of how the ladies played,” praised coach Achurch. “We battled hard in the rain while missing seven players due to a variety of reasons and were just unlucky to not get a tie or a win.”

The Fresh Kenny’s Fish and Chips Player of the Game award went to Ali Garnett.

The Cougars will be at home again this Sunday, hosting Castaways at 10 a.m.