Soccer returns after all-star games, cup draws

With their all-star games and cup draws completed, Cowichan’s senior soccer teams are set to return to regular-season action.

All three teams are scheduled to play at home this weekend: Div. 2 Cowichan United will host Saanich Fusion at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Div. 2 Cowichan FC will host Castaways on the Ladysmith turf at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and Cowichan’s Lower Island Women’s Soccer League entry will host Castaways at Evans Park at noon on Sunday.

All three teams were well represented in their all-star games earlier this month, notably Cowichan United, which had four players on the Div. 2 all-star team, led by coach Neall Rowlings. The Div. 2 all-stars defeated the Div. 3 all-stars 4-1, getting a goal from Cowichan’s Jordan Korven and a shutout half from Darian Achurch. Jose Muro and Jacob Ready also suited up.

“All of the guys were great and the Cowichan boys represented very well,” Rowlings said. “It was a good league-building exercise and very entertaining.

The Div. 1 all-star team, including Cowichan’s Brad Thorne, Jesse Winters, Tyler Hughes and Steve Scott, lost to the Fraser Valley all-stars on penalty kicks.

Cowichan’s Marilyn Pugh helped coach Team Blue in the combined Div./Premier LIWSA all-star game, joining players Nicole Pugh (a three-time all-star), Ashley Porter and Kerynne Bain. Nicole Pugh scored in the first half but had it called back on a questionable offside, and Bain earned a shutout in her half of the game, a 4-1 win for Team Blue.

“All in all, though it was very cold, it was a great game and a good experience,” said Marilyn Pugh.

Both Cowichan United and Cowichan FC were pleased with the results of the Jackson Cup draw, also held earlier this month. United has a bye through the first round, and will face another Div. 2 team in the quarterfinals.

“Three years running we’ve made it to the quarterfinals,” Rowlings noted. “This year we start there.”

Cowichan FC will have to win a play-in game with Gorge’s Div. 2 team to get into the first round, where they would face another Div. 2 team in Gordon Head.

“Starting like that is better than last year,” said FC coach Glen Martin, whose team bowed out early in a much tougher draw in the 2013 tournament.