Just a couple of days after they locked up the Garrison Cup as the top team in Div. 1 of the Vancouver Island Soccer League and secured a berth in the Jackson Cup final, Cowichan LMG struggled to find the motivation they needed for a late-season clash with Bays United at the Sherman Road turf on Tuesday night.
Bays, however, didn’t have that same problem, needing the three points in order to keep alive any hope of reaching the provincial tournament, and ended up beating Cowichan 6-3.
“There was a big letdown after beating Gorge and getting into the [Jackson Cup] final and winning the league, and we didn’t have time to prepare,” Cowichan head coach Glen Martin said. “[Bays] had to win. They were a little hungrier, a little more determined, and they worked a little harder. I think every year, after we’ve won the [Garrison Cup], we’ve lost the next game.”
Tyler Hughes, Paddy Nelson and Craig Gorman scored the goals for a Cowichan team that changed the lineup to rest some players, and didn’t work as hard as Martin is used to seeing.
“We were very, very soft defensively. If you don’t put in the work, anyone can beat you.”
It was Cowichan’s first loss since Oct. 28, 2016, and Martin expects the team to bounce back quickly.
“It was a tough game mentally,” he said. “The guys don’t like losing. We hadn’t lost in about five months.”
There is no time to dwell on the defeat as Cowichan visits Vic West this Saturday — another team that needs the win to qualify for the B.C. Cup tournament. In fact, if Vic West wins, Bays will be eliminated.
Cowichan will play at home again next Tuesday at 8 p.m. against Comox Valley United, followed on April 2 by the Jackson Cup final at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park.