Paddy Nelson’s goal on the last play of Cowichan LMG’s final game of the Vancouver Island Soccer League season gave the team a 1-1 tie with Saanich Fusion last Friday, and 45 points on the season, matching the previous best mark set in 2012/13.
Cowichan had clinched the best record in Div. 1 two weeks earlier, and the team finished with a record of 14 wins, one loss and three ties for six more points than second-place Comox and nine more than third-place Saanich. The team’s goal differential of 53 (65 for, 12 against) was its best ever.
Saanich scored 15 minutes into the match, but Cowichan took control of the game after that, pressuring the host team until they finally scored just before the final whistle when Nelson buried a rebound off Josh Cuthbert’s initial shot.
“They were a little more motivated than we were,” admitted Cowichan coach Glen Martin, whose team beat Saanich 5-0 in Ladysmith earlier in the season. “They showed some pride. For a game that doesn’t mean anything to either team [in the standings], that’s kind of the way it should be.”
Martin’s team now has a couple of weeks off before beginning the Jackson Cup tournament with a home game against Powell River’s Div. 2 team on Feb. 21 beginning at 2 p.m. Powell River finished seventh in Div. 2 at 3-5-4, but Martin isn’t taking anything for granted.
“Div. 2 games are never easy games,” he said.
Cowichan United finished their Div. 2 season with an 8-1 win over Sooke last Saturday, getting two goals each from Kevin Smith, Russell Lederer and Steven Zorich, and one each from Kodi Archbold and Jose Muro. United placed third in the division with a 4-2-8 record.
United will open the Jackson Cup at home against Lakehill’s Div. 1 team on Feb. 20 at Sherman Road turf at 6 p.m. Lakehill finished last in Div. 1 and will be relegated to Div. 2 next season. Martin expects big things from Cowichan United.
“Any team that takes that team lightly is in trouble,” he said.