Courtenay McGeachy of the Cowichan Cougars moves the ball in her team’s last game before a recent weather-necessitated hiatus. The team returned to action this past weekend. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Rough start to Shergold Cup for Cowichan women’s teams

After a couple of weeks off because of snow-covered fields, Cowichan’s Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association teams returned to action on Sunday for their first games of the Stephanie Shergold Cup tournament.

Both teams lost their round-robin openers on the road, but hope to bounce back in home games this coming weekend.

The over-30A Cowichan Cougars got off to an excellent start against Div. 2 Gorge United at Hampton Park, but ended up on the wrong side of a 4-1 final score.

The Cougars opened the scoring with a scramble goal off a corner kick, drilled home by Ashley Stultz. Although they kept pressing, that was all the offence the Cougars would manage.

“It was exactly the start to the game we were looking for,” Cowichan coach Darian Achurch noted. “We controlled the play and led almost the entire first half. The girls played great soccer.”

An injury to defender Jen Bayley forced the Cougars resulted in some changes on the back end and Gorge capitalized on a breakaway late in the first half. Although Cowichan started well in the second half, the goals weren’t coming. Gorge took the lead on a baffling free kick, then scored two more against the flow as Cowichan pushed hard late in the game.

“It was definitely not a 4-1 game,” Cougars midfielder Deanne Mearns said. “Their coaches said it, the ref knew it, and their players knew it. It was a very even game throughout.”

Cowichan’s Div. 2 team lost 6-0 to Lakehill Reds at Braefoot Park.

“It was our first time on a soccer pitch in almost a month due to the snow and cold,” Cowichan coach Darbi Aitchison said. “And it was fun to get back in the game.”

With only 11 players, Cowichan didn’t have anyone available off the bench and tried to accommodate that with their game plan.

“We kept our passing game short to try and maintain control and tried to keep a handle on shutting down their passes and shots,” Aitchison explained. “They’re a practiced passing team with a few more subs than us and made good plays to keep the attacking pressure on and work the ball deep into our end.”

The Div. 2 team is scheduled to host Vic West at the Sherman Road turf at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and the Cougars are set to host PFC PACE at Evans Park at 10 a.m. on Sunday, but games will depend on fields being open.

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