Igor Liah scored one of Cowichan United’s two goals in a 2-0 win over Lakehill on March 3. (Citizen file)

Cowichan United clings to hope of Provincial Cup qualification

Cowichan United needed some stars to align if they were to have any hope of qualifying for the U21 soccer Provincial Cup.

Eliminated from the George Smith Cup tournament after a loss to the Mid Isle Mariners on Feb. 24, Cowichan required two things to happen: 1) for Mid Isle and Castaways to make the George Smith Cup final, and 2) for Cowichan themselves to finish fourth in the Vancouver Island Soccer League U21 league.

“We don’t hold our destiny,” Cowichan head coach Tyler Hughes said last week, prior to the cup semifinals. “We might have a chance. It’s kind of wait and see.”

Miraculously or otherwise, the first requirement came into place this past weekend when Mid Isle and Castaways won their respective cup semifinal matches. Mid Isle, Castaways and Prospect Lake have three of the four Island berths in the provincial championship, with Cowichan, Lakehill and Bays United in contention for the last one.

Because of the way the league dealt with games that were cancelled for weather reasons, Cowichan can’t finish higher than fourth, so the only way they could make provincials was for Mid Isle and Castaways to play in the cup final and for Cowichan to hold off Lakehill and Bays and secure fourth place in the standings.

Cowichan has one league game left, against Bays United this coming Sunday at 6 p.m. on the Sherman Road turf. They need to win that match and hope that Bays can beat Lakehill in their last regular season game, which has yet to be scheduled. Bays can still sneak in by winning both of their games.

The defending George Smith Cup champions, Cowichan was eliminated from this year’s tournament thanks to their 4-0 loss to Mid Isle in the quarter-finals on Feb. 24.

“It was our first game back,” Hughes noted. “Our fields were still covered in snow and we hadn’t trained in probably three weeks. It was a tough one. We were noticeably rusty.”

In their most recent game, Cowichan improved to 5-4-7 with a 2-0 road win over Lakehill on March 3. Igor Liah and Logan Kits did the scoring, while Brayden Nash recorded the shutout.

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