Stock photo of a soccer ball and pitch.

Cowichan Cougars extinguish Fire in season opener

Cowichan United plays to tough loss against JDF

After taking the 2020-21 Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association season off, the O30 Cowichan Cougars returned to the pitch last Saturday for a road match against the Saanich Fusion Fire, and came home with a 3-1 win.

The Fire, one of the top teams from last season, opened the scoring with a lucky goal against the flow of the game within the first five minutes, but that goal only seemed to help settle the Cougars, who responded with two shots that caromed off the post before Monni Savory tied the game in the 25th minute.

“It was a great passing play and I just happened to be on the end of it,” Savory remarked. “We were all over them so the goal was just waiting to happen.”

The Cougars continued to press after the halftime break, and Jenna Waddy put Cowichan ahead on a great individual effort five minutes after play resumed. Lori Rodall capped off the scoring in the 70th minute after sneaking the ball between two Saanich defenders and a goalie to slide it into the open net.

“We are happy to be back playing soccer after a year off,” coach Darian Achurch noted. “The ladies were excited to play and glad to get this season off to a great start.”

Courtenay McGeachy was named the Fresh Kenny’s Player of the Match.

The Cougars will play their home opener this Sunday at Evans Park, taking on Castaways FC at 10 a.m.

In Div. 2, Cowichan United opened their season with a hard-fought 1-0 loss to former Div. 1 side JDF United on a pitch in Langford that Cowichan coach Adam Paulson described as “questionable.”

Cowichan got off to an excellent start, and less than 10 minutes in, sent forward Jada Hill in on a breakaway, which was stopped by the JDF keeper. JDF converted on a scoring chance in the 20th minute, when one of their forwards picked up a loose ball at the top of the 18 and slotted it into the Cowichan net.

“The game was a tight-checking affair, with JDF asserting themselves, winning a lot of 50-50 balls, and Cowichan making a lot of well-timed tackles that led to counter attacks,” Paulson said.

Cowichan created another breakaway opportunity before the first half was over, springing Madison Thomas this time, but again the JDF keeper was up to the task, and the host team took a one-goal lead into the break. Cowichan began the second half by peppering the JDF net with shots, and came ever closer to breaking the clean sheet. Keira Martin had the best chance, ringing the ball off the crossbar on a beautiful 30-yard kick in the 70th minute. With Cowichan pressing, JDF mounted a counterattack in the 80th minute that led to a scoring chance which Cowichan goalie Jennifer Jack fended off with a picture-perfect slide check.

More Cowichan chances followed, including one by Keisha Sampson that was denied.

United will be looking for their first win of the season this Sunday when they play host to Peninsula FC at noon on the Sherman Road turf.