The Cowichan Blackout overcame some challenges in the weeks before the Les Sinnott Memorial provincial U14 boys soccer championships in 100 Mile House last week and emerged with the bronze medal.
"For a team that had to replace two starters due to injuries in the last couple weeks before heading out, and carrying other key players with nagging pains that just would not go away, I think that we did extremely well," Blackout head coach Will Chaster said.
The injured starters had to step out of the lineup so Chaster could replace them with healthy players, just one of the obstacles the team had to deal with as the provincial tournament approached.
"Our players where suffering from this, the heat, long travel, unknown opponents, severe weather conditions pending lightning, isolation at our resort with no Internet, and other factors to distract from our goal: to medal," he said.
Cowichan opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over the Williams Lake Storm on Thursday morning, then suffered their only loss on Friday morning, falling 3-2 to Pinnacles FC of Penticton, with the winning goal coming in stoppage time.
They bounced back on Saturday to trounce to host 100 Mile House Lightning 4-0, securing a chance to play for the bronze medal.
"After the loss to Penticton, our resolve was renewed to claim the bronze," Chaster said.
The bronze-medal game was a rematch with Coastal FC, a team the Blackout defeated this year in the Coastal Cup semifinals. Cowichan prevailed 3-1. The Blackout had an extremely successful season, going undefeated in league play. Their only defeat in league or cup play came in the Coastal Cup final, which they lost to CCB United, the eventual provincial championships. The team did lose a couple of exhibition matches over the season, including some tuneup games against higher skilled teams between the end of cup play in May and the provincial championships last week.
Despite all their success, the Blackout knew they’d be up against some tough competition at the provincial tournament.
"It was no certainty a medal would be ours as there were seven other district winners there, and we only knew two," Chaster said. "After it was all said and done I think we realized what we could have done better and I know I was proud of our results as the players and families in attendance seem to be."