Cowichan United may have earned a 1-1 draw with Nanaimo United Saturday night at Merle Logan Park, but they suffered a significant loss along the way. Defender Amelia Froese went down on a last-ditch shot-block, breaking her ankle.
“Our thoughts are with Amelia. She is a great player and teammate, and we will miss her contributions on the pitch,” said head coach Adam Paulson. “We look forward to a quick recovery for Amelia, and are sure she will be back stronger than ever.”
Cowichan’s Maya Johnston, Nicola Mawson and Nicole Pugh all had early chances to put their team on the board, but the Nanaimo goalie stood firm and the game remained scoreless.
“Nanaimo started to grow into the game, and built momentum sending their right winger into the box,” Paulson said. “An impeccably timed slide tackle by Jenna Ryan ended the threat and left the Nanaimo player on the turf.”
The remainder of the first half bounced around in between the midfields before Madison Thomas unsuccessfully tested the Nanaimo goalie, to end the half scoreless.
The second half of Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association action started off much the same as the end of the first half, but slowly Cowichan gained the upper hand.
Their hard work was rewarded 64 minutes in after Pugh was taken down just outside the Nanaimo area.
Pugh hammered her free kick around the wall into the top corner of the net for the first goal of the contest and her third in three games.
Cowichan almost doubled their lead just four minutes later as Jade Soluk played Pugh in with a deft flick header but Pugh was unable to capitalize.
With time winding down, Nanaimo began to press Cowichan back into their own end, and began to test Tiara Enger in the Cowichan net.
“Enger commanded her area well, making several key interceptions of crosses, and was on hand to smother a scramble in the Cowichan box.”
Nanaimo was not to be denied, finding their breakthrough at the start of extra time, as a half clearance dropped to Nanaimo midfielder Georgia Nicholls, Shortly thereafter extra time expired and the game ended 1-1.
“Obviously it is a little disappointing to give away points as time expired, but I can’t fault the effort put in by the players,” Paulson said. “Nanaimo is a quality team that hadn’t conceded a goal in their first two wins, and they probably feel pretty lucky to come out of that game with a point. I think we surprised a few teams during the first round of games, but we won’t have the luxury of being underestimated going forward, so we will need to raise our game again.”