Cowichan’s U14 and U15 Gold girls teams celebrate winning their respective Island Invitationals in Powell River late last month. (Left: Todd Blumel photo/right: submitted]

Two Cowichan teams win Island Invitationals

U14 and U15 Gold girls both beat Powell River

In likely their last meaningful games before they head to the provincial championships in July, the Cowichan Valley’s U14 and U15 Gold girls teams both won their Island Invitational finals in Powell River.

The U14 girls beat their Powell River opponents 4-0, and the U15s won their game 2-0.

Taya Brubacher made appearances in both games, scoring three times and earning a yellow card in the U14 match after warming up by playing the first half of the U15 game.

Brubacher’s big day was just one of the highlights for the Cowichan U14 team, which also got stellar goalkeeping from Ava Rodier. Rodier, who coach Neall Rowlings says is “far above this age group in goaltending skill,” made two big stops against Powell River before she exited with an injury, forcing centre back Priscilla Jack to step up.

“We went into the half at 0’s,” Rowlings noted. “It probably should have been 2-2.”

The Cowichan players came out motivated in the second half, and Ruth Paulson quickly made it 1-0 with a sneaky right-footer into the bottom corner. The game opened up after that, and Brubacher struck for a rapid-fire hat trick.

Katrina Fortin had a strong day tackling in the centre of the pitch, and Jessica Butler was named game MVP by the Powell River team. Tianna Chau had a great individual scoring opportunity, taking a shot and then absorbing a late tackle for her efforts.

“At 4-0 the game got a little vicious,” Rowlings said.

The Cowichan U15s played a strong game despite missing a pair of key players in sniper Aisha Werner and Shayla Wilson.

Powell River had more of the play in the first half, creating a couple of decent chances from 20 or 25 yards out, but Cowichan’s goalkeeper was up to the task.

“Chloe Bruce played well,” Cowichan U15 coach Brian Johnston said. “She made some good saves early on.”

Cowichan came out stronger after the break.

“In the second half, we definitely controlled the game,” Johnston said. “We had more territorial play. I don’t think they had many chances — maybe one.”

About 15 minutes into the second half, Serena Lalani took a free kick in the Cowichan end, and lofted it over the Powell River defence to Jayda Lauzon, who made one touch before burying the ball in the net and tilting the game in her team’s favour.

“We had the momentum and kept it going,” Johnston said.

About 10 to 15 minutes after that, Lauzon sent in a corner kick, which was bobbled by the Powell River keeper. She dropped the ball in front of Taylor Johnston, who put her team up by a pair. Cowichan fended Powell River off after that.

“We did a good job defensively, closing things up,” Johnston said. “We didn’t give them much opportunity.”

Lalani was name game MVP, while Molly Corbett was strong on the back line and Abby Lief had an impressive outing at centre back.

Both Cowichan girls teams will take a few weeks off before resuming practice in June prior to their respective provincial tournaments.

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