One week after a strong showing in a loss to the defending Div. 1 champions, Cowichan United did themselves one better by beating a Premiership club in cohort play last Friday night.
Prospect Lake arrived at the Sherman Road turf short on numbers for the Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association match, and Cowichan took full advantage, playing to a 1-0 victory.
“Seeing Prospect Lake turn up to the game with just enough ladies to field a full squad, we sensed an opportunity,” Cowichan head coach Adam Paulson said.
Paulson described the first half as a “cagey affair.” Prospect kept playing the ball up the right side of the pitch, where they were repeatedly stymied by Rachel Price and Jenna Ryan. Cowichan started to turn the game back in their favour, and the first real scoring chance fell to Cowichan striker Madison Thomas, who hit the crossbar. The teams went to the break in a scoreless tie.
Without any subs on the bench, Prospect started to tire in the second half, and Cowichan ratcheted up the pressure. Good chances by Seleana Jack, Nicole Pugh and Shannen Joe, however, failed to find the back of the net.
Pugh got another opportunity in the 72nd minute, when a beautifully weighted pass sent her in on a breakaway. Pugh touched the ball past the keeper, but was knocked down as the goalie slid into her. The referee awarded a penalty kick, which Pugh took, ringing the ball in off the crossbar. The ball bounced out and was headed over, but an alert linesperson made sure the ref knew that the ball had in fact crossed the line on Pugh’s shot, and Cowichan took the lead.
Prospect’s goalie was injured on the penalty kick and had to leave the game, dropping her team down to 10 players. Cowichan pressed for the insurance marker, with Jack firing a shot just over the net. Prospect hadn’t been able to beat Cowichan keeper Tiara Enger all night, but were awarded a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box in the last minute of play. The Cowichan bench held its collective breath, but the Prospect striker sent her shot over the crossbar, sealing up the win for Cowichan and the clean sheet for Enger.
“We had a game plan to make them run by keeping the ball moving, to tire them out and then take the chances that would come,” Paulson summed up.” Every player on the team played their part in that. I am very proud of the effort put in by the ladies; the hard work in practice is paying off. We do need to start being a little more clinical around goal, as the missed chances almost came back to haunt us.”
Cowichan will play their first road game of the season this Saturday when they visit Nanaimo United.