For the fourth time in the last five years, Cowichan FC will play for Vancouver Island’s senior men’s soccer championship.
The team, which won the tournament in 2011 and 2012, booked another trip to the Jackson Cup final with a 2-0 overtime win over Bays United at Victoria’s Hampton Park last Friday night.
Cowichan and Bays needed overtime to decide the game, although all the scoring was done in the first of the two 15-minute sessions.
Tyler Hughes scored the gamewinner on a corner kick that pretty much everyone except the Bays coach thought was perfectly acceptable, thinking Cowichan should have given the ball back to the Bays goalie rather than follow through with the corner.
"The refs were fine with it, but their coach got excited," Cowichan coach Glen Martin said. "He only got worked up about it because we scored."
The Bays keeper was injured on the play that led to the corner. He was down for about six of seven minutes, but got back up and remained in the game for the kick, and no one voiced any objection until after Hughes’s goal. On the short corner, Hughes sent the ball to Dan Citra on the near post. Citra fed the ball back to Hughes, who was rushing in and met the ball just outside the box, burying a shot in the top corner.
The goalie never stood a chance, according to Martin.
"If he was 100 per cent healthy he wouldn’t have made the save," the coach said.
Dan Cato scored two minutes later, finishing off some hard work by Ryan Andre on the wing, and Cowichan held on for the remainder of the match.
Bob Stankov earned the shutout in the Cowichan net.
"He looked pretty comfortable back there," Martin said. "He made a couple of good saves. He needed to get better every week and he has."
With the win, Cowichan eliminated the defending Jackson Cup champions and the team that knocked them out of the tournament in the first round last year. "We wanted to get back to the final for sure," said Martin.
In the final at Royal Athletic Park on March 30, Cowichan will face Saanich Fusion, the threetime Div. 1 champions. "We got Bays back for beating us once this year," Martin said. "Now we have to get Saanich Fusion back for beating us twice."