Monni Savory and the Cowichan Cougars have been kicking above their class all season and have been promoted to the O30 A Division. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Monni Savory and the Cowichan Cougars have been kicking above their class all season and have been promoted to the O30 A Division. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan United back in form, NIFA earns first win

Cougars await mid-season promotion to A division

Cowichan United got back in the win column, NIFA Pacific earned their first-ever victory in the Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association, and the Cowichan Cougars settled for a tie as they await promotion to the O30 A Division.

After having their own six-game winning streak ended by Salt Spring United a week earlier, Cowichan United won 2-1 to hand Bays United their first loss of the Div. 2 season in Victoria last Sunday.

Cowichan made good on their first chance of the game when Keisha Sampson delivered a perfect corner kick in the eighth minute and centre back Samantha Walker headed it over the Bays keeper. That lead was short-lived as a Bays attack led to a quick shot that surprised Cowichan keeper Jenn Jack.

. The teams played the rest of the first half in the midfield, neither creating a serious scoring opportunity.

Cowichan went ahead for good in the 52nd minute. Rachel Price recovered the ball and drove into the Bays half where her long pass was intercepted by a defender. Under pressure from Madison Thomas, the Bays player gave the ball away to Sampson who lobbed the ball into the net from the sideline.

Refusing to switch off with the one-goal lead, Cowichan kept pressing, but were denied. Alyssa Klotz rang a penalty kick off the crossbar, and Dennene Wallace sent a shot just past the post. Katerina Cook also narrowly missed a volley from Keira Martin, then connected on a shot that went right at the Bays keeper.

“After a bit of a wakeup call last week, I thought we responded well,” Cowichan coach Adam Paulson said. “It is always gratifying to get a goal from a corner; that is our third of the season, a good return for this point in the season. These games are the ones you need your leaders to step up and play well, and I thought our captain, Sam Walker, did just that, scoring a goal and making some really important clearances in the defensive end.”

United will be at home this Sunday, playing host to Gorge FC on the Sherman Road turf.

In Div. 3, NIFA Pacific beat Bays United 10-0 at Oak Bay High School on Saturday for their first win since joining the LIWSA in 2020, although their first season was cut short due to COVID-19.

Margaret Badger scored three times, Sarah Douglas and Jasmine Seymour each had two goals, and Maiya Modeste, Linzi Clair and Savannah Harris each added one, while Makayla Joe-George recorded the shutout. NIFA will get a week off to enjoy their victory, then return to action on Nov. 21 at the Cowichan Sportsplex against JDF FC at 1 p.m.

After making mincemeat of their competition in the O30 B Division, then earning an easy win over their first A Division opponent, the Cowichan Cougars have been bumped back to the top group, which they learned right before they kicked off against Vic West at the Sherman Road turf last Sunday.

“I am glad the league decided to promote us,” Cougars coach Darian Achurch remarked. “We have beaten all the B teams now and have not lost to an A team yet.”

Cowichan opted to start in the B Division after not fielding a team last season, but found themselves on the right side of some lopsided victories. They successfully petitioned the league for promotion, but now enter the A league in last place with all of their wins and goals erased.

Last Sunday’s game ended in a 1-1 draw, and won’t count in the standings. Cowichan controlled the play early on but gave up a goal against the play. Jenna Waddy earned a penalty shot when she was tackled in the penalty area, and Stacey de Lusignan converted it. As much as the Cougars pushed after that, the Vic West keeper was able to bar the door.

“It was tough to end in a tie,” Cowichan’s Jen Mann said. “I felt like we controlled the play and created enough chances to win. It will be good to play them again.”

The Cougars will have a week off while the schedule is adjusted and will play their next game at home on Nov. 20. at 4 p.m.