Cowichan United’s Nicole Pugh shakes off a Vic West defender during cup play on Sunday evening. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan United’s Nicole Pugh shakes off a Vic West defender during cup play on Sunday evening. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan United improves to 2-0 in cup play

4-2 win over Vic West puts Cowichan atop pool

Cowichan United moved to the top of the pack in the Stephanie Shergold Cup round robin with their second consecutive victory in cup play — and fifth overall — a 4-2 win over Vic West’s O30A team on Sunday evening.

United is one of three teams with two wins in pool play, but boasts the best goal-differential of the trio, with five for and two against.

Cowichan got off to a great start, and were rewarded in the 12th minute when Jada Hill collected the rebound from her own scoring attempt and fed the ball to Nicole Pugh, who buried her shot from 15 yards out.

The lead was short-lived as a free kick found its way through to a Vic West striker, and her volley to the top corner left Gabby Marcolin helpless in the Cowichan net. That goal rattled Cowichan a bit, and Vic West seized the opportunity to take the lead a few minutes later.

Cowichan responded by sending waves of attacks at the Vic West net. A Vic West defender made a late challenge on Hill in the penalty area, and Hill took the resulting kick herself, firing a hard shot into the bottom corner to send the game to halftime deadlocked at 2-2.

The momentum carried into the second half. In the 51st minute, Rachel Price rampaged down the left wing and fired a beautiful cross that Jade Soluk met with a delicate touch to send the ball into the far corner of the net. Just two minutes after that, Pugh turned with the ball inside the 18-yard box, and the Vic West defender shadowing her missed the ball and caught Pugh’s foot instead.

“The sound from the collision left no doubt to the outcome, a second Cowichan penalty,” Cowichan coach Adam Paulson reported.

Pugh took the kick, and beat the Vic West keeper to double Cowichan’s lead.

“Vic West, playing with no subs, started to tire after that,” Paulson said. “And the game settled down with Cowichan possessing the majority of the ball and limiting Vic West to a couple of half chances as the game wound to its conclusion.”

Cowichan will go back on the road this Sunday to close out Shergold Cup pool play against Div. 2 Prospect Lake SC, with a good shot at advancing to the semifinals. Prospect Lake is 1-1 in cup play, and finished well below Cowichan in the Div. 2 standings.

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