Cowichan LMG started the 2015/16 Vancouver Island Soccer League season in fine form last Saturday with a 4-0 win over Westcastle United at Westhills Stadium. The results was never in doubt as the defending league champions led the way from start to finish.
“We outplayed them pretty good,” Cowichan head coach Glen Martin said.
Martin often says the key to winning in Division 1 of the VISL is to score the first goal, and that’s exactly what his team did last Saturday, drawing first blood with a goal by captain Jesse Winter on a corner kick set piece eight minutes in. That strike held up as the only goal of the half.
Cowichan came back out for the second half with the same determination, and took another three minutes to add to their lead. Cooper Barry scored that one on another corner kick, burying the ball from a scramble in front of the net.
Westcastle didn’t have an answer for that, and Cowichan continued to roll. Paddy Nelson added to the barrage when he converted a Steve Scott pass to make it 3-0 at 66 minutes, and Barry scored his second of the game on a penalty kick with about 10 minutes to play.
The score could have been higher: Govinda Innes had a brilliant chance to score shortly after Nelson’s goal, sliding in to kick the ball as it skipped across the goal mouth, but he hit the crossbar.
“It was hard to believe he didn’t score,” Martin said.
Sam Hutchison got the shutout in his first game with Cowichan, but wasn’t terribly busy, his job consisting mostly of handling crosses as he collected the clean sheet. Westcastle didn’t try hard to score on Cowichan.
“They sat back and absorbed a lot of pressure,” Martin said. “We had total control of the game.”
Everyone who dressed for the match played, including Div. 2 call-ups Kodi Archbold, Connor Williams and Jacob Ready, and U16 call-up Luca Klotz.
With the season opener now behind them, LMG is looking to their home opener next Saturday against Comox at Keserich Field on Sherman Road at 4 p.m. The game will be a battle for first place in Div. 1 as every game that didn’t involve Cowichan or Comox last weekend ended in a tie. Last year, Cowichan beat Comox at home early in the season, then tied them on the road. Relative newcomers to Div. 1, Comox finished sixth in the league last year, but weren’t far out of first, and had the best record in the league in the second half.
In Div. 2, Cowichan United played to a 1-1 draw with Powell River Villa last weekend, their lone goal coming from Kevin Smith. United will be home to Prospect Lake at 6:15 p.m. next Saturday.