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Undefeated Hornets are West Coast League champs, provincials bound

The Cowichan Valley Soccer Association's U14 Hornets are going to provincials
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The U14 Cowichan Hornets and the LISA Doxey/Steiner team after the playoff finals on June 22. The CVSA U14 Hornets are: Maddison Prince, Grayce Campbell, Emilie Maguire Horn, Eliana Ayensu, Ella Glassford, Scarlett Crisp, Sadie Milward, Ruby Grimshaw, Maclyn Klassen, Ellie Nelson, Lizzy Jehn, Janna George, Maya Luna Arias, Kaiya Mattin, Ameilia Calverley, Mia Sorenson, Mika Ayalon Ben-Dov, Isabella Muller-Hudson, Katie Sletmoen, Iza Durante; Coaches: Eric Nelson, Thor Jehn, Larry Mattin, and Marlowe Glassford.

The Cowichan Valley Soccer Association's U14 Hornets are bound for the Tier 2 U14 soccer provincials after blasting through their competition all season long.

The Hornets will now be the Vancouver Island representatives at the B.C. championships July 18-21 in Kamloops after having finished their spring season with a West Coast League win, victory in the playoff finals, and as Slurpee Cup champions. With a total of 47 goals for to just 14 against, the Hornets did the near-impossible, going undefeated through all 15 games of their season.

The road to the West Coast League Championship was not an easy one, however. After beating Nanaimo United FC 4-1 in the playoff semi-finals, the Hornets were faced with their strongest rivals, the Lower Island Selects Saanich-Peninsula team in the final game.

"It turned out to be a real nail-biter," said coach Thor Jehn.

The Hornets had beaten them twice during league play but if anyone was going to knock them for a loop it would be LISA.

"The Hornets took the LISA team seriously as they finished second in the league and the games had always been close," Jehn explained.

Cowichan found themselves down one at the half after LISA dominated the first half and scored on a volley off a corner kick. 

Injuries to Maya Arias-Glenwright, Gracey Campbell, and Ruby Grimshaw left the Hornets with just one substitute player but undaunted, the Hornets fought back. 

Lizzy Jehn, Ellie Nelson, and Maclyn Klassen hit the woodwork several times, but couldn’t get the ball by the LISA goalie.

The game was all but decided in the late going, but the Hornets showed once more their fighting character when five minutes before the final whistle captain Jehn bent a corner kick directly into the back corner of the LISA net to tie the game at 1-1.

"Whoever thought the drama was over was mistaken," said coach Jehn. "Only two minutes later, the LISA team were awarded a penalty for a handball in the box, but the Hornets were lucky again — the Victoria player missed wide!"

Relying on the steadfast defending of Ella Glassford, Amelia Calverley, Kaiya Mattin, Emilie Maguire Horn, Sadie Milward, and Mika Ayalon Ben-Dov, the Hornets managed to keep their opposition out of the danger zone during the extremely hectic last minutes.

With the score knotted at 1-1, the game went to kicks to decide the winner.  

After three successful penalty kicks by Jehn, Calverley, and Mia Sorenson, Cowichan missed the fourth one, opening the door just a crack for LISA. Little did LISA know the Hornets’ goalie Maddison Prince had other plans. She stepped up her game and saved the next two LISA penalties to cap off her outstanding season.

The Hornets stayed cool and Scarlett Crisp and Maclyn Klassen scored to push Cowichan to the 6-5 win in kicks and the Vancouver Island berth to the upcoming provincials.