Cowichan’s Brad Thorne beats the Vic West keeper for one of his two goals in the 49ers’ 7-0 win on Saturday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Niners a win away from Masters soccer title

Cowichan beats Vic West 7-0

An exhibition match against Cowichan LMG was just what the Craig Street 49ers needed going into a crucial stretch.

Desperate for wins in order to keep their Vancouver Island Soccer League Masters A title hopes alive, the 49ers took their training to the next level last week when they took on the Div. 1 champions. The pace and skill level of LMG inspired the 49ers to play smarter and quicker soccer in their must-win match against Vic West’s Masters B team on Saturday.

“We took a lot of pace and moving the ball quicker into the game against Vic West,” 49ers head coach Kevin James said. “It’s good to have the relationship we do with the Div. 1’s. I think it benefited both teams.”

Using what they learned from LMG, the Niners got a little closer to clinching the Masters title by beating Vic West 7-0 at Dave Williams Field on Saturday.

“It was probably the best game we’ve played all season, all the way around,” James said. “It was a solid effort. Everybody contributed. All the bodies got in and everybody did their job.”

Stu Barker wasn’t expected to play on Saturday, but managed to fit 45 minutes of soccer around some other commitments, and scored three goals in the first half. Brad Thorne added a pair, and Neall Rowlings and Brad Peterson each scored once. Rob McIntyre and Preston Johnny combined for the shutout. Former LMG standout Tyler Hughes, making a rare appearance in 49ers silks, was picked as Cowichan’s game MVP.

“He made a huge impact out there,” James said of the stalwart defender. “He set up three or four goals, at least.”

Cowichan last faced Vic West in the Tony Grover Cup final last spring, which the 49ers won 2-1 in extra time. The 49ers were a little more dominant this time around.

“It was nice to get a bit more confidence playing them,” James said. “The turf was a huge difference-maker. It was a little faster, and there’s more skill involved. It showed what we’re made of.”

The other two contenders for the Masters A title squared off on Monday, with the UVic Alumni beating Gorge 3-2. Gorge was all but out of the race already, but the loss to UVic was the final nail. The 49ers need a tie or win in their finale on Feb. 24 to clinch the league, but if Cowichan loses and UVic beats Nanaimo the next day, Cowichan and UVic will move into a tie that would be settled by goal-differential.

The 49ers opponent on Feb. 24 will be Gorge’s Masters B team, who haven’t won a game this year and have been outscored by a 63-goal margin, but James plans to prepare for them the same way he would for a Masters A side.

“On paper, they haven’t had a good season, but that doesn’t change our mindset,” the coach said. “Sports is where upsets are made. They have nothing to lose, and we have everything to gain.”

Prior to their league finale, the 49ers will start their Tony Grover Cup defence this Saturday at 6 p.m. at home against the Saanich Fusion Masters C team.

Just Posted

New era begins for high school girls hockey

This weekend’s Ross Cup hockey tournament hosted by Brentwood College School will… Continue reading

Duncan cousins found guilty of aggravated sexual assault

Assault so violent, victim required surgery

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

Rollover causes minor injuries

Accident under investigation

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Coming up in Cowichan: Irrigation; Palestinian children; fun with fungi

The Cowichan Watershed Board is presenting a free efficient irrigation workshop

Video: B.C. firefighters featured in quirky video

Oliver Fire Department posts video about their B.C. volunteer firefighter spring training seminar

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals push Canada into second place

A gold in ski cross and a bronze in bobsleigh as men’s hockey advances to the semis

Trudeau reiterates denial of Sikh separatists in cabinet, condemns extremism

“We will always stand against violent extremism, but we understand that diversity of views is one of the great strengths of Canada.”

Canada wins gold in men’s ski cross

Leman earns redemption with ski cross gold; Homan out early

Trump says more must be done to protect children

In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated he wants to strengthen the background check system, but offered no specifics.

Evangelist Billy Graham has died at 99

Graham died Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.

Most Read