The Cowichan Cougars and Cowichan United continued to trample their opponents in the Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association last weekend, while NIFA Pacific United FC played their best game of the young season in a close defeat.
The Cougars trounced Prospect Lake 9-0 at the Sherman Road turf in O30 action on Saturday afternoon, and United won their Div. 2 showdown with Nanaimo 6-0 at the same venue on Sunday afternoon. Also on Sunday, the Div. 3 NIFA Pacific team lost 1-0 to Prospect Lake in Victoria.
Early pressure paid off for the Cougars in the form of an own goal in the 11th minute, and Jenna Waddy scored her league-leading fifth of the season a minute after that. Five minutes later, another own goal had Prospect Lake reeling.
“We kept the pressure on early,” noted Mel Findlater. “Their goalie made a few key stops but we kept the shots coming.”
Tarah Thomas added a fourth goal before the halftime break, and the Cougars kept it coming in the second half as Waddy scored her second, followed by more goals by Monni Savory, Ali Garnett and Findlater.
The Cougars are undefeated through their first five games, with 29 goals for and just two against. The team has a week off before beginning the next round of games against A league opponents on Oct. 29.
In the Div. 2 game, both Cowichan and Nanaimo were without their regular goalkeepers, and Cowichan’s backup, Kate Collins, ended up earning a shutout win.
Nanaimo’s best chance came in the 64th minute, when the visitors nearly scored directly off a corner kick. The ball seemed destined for the far top corner of the net, but Collins reached back and punched the ball just out off the bar.
“I was really proud of Kate today,” Cowichan coach Adam Paulson said. “For someone who doesn’t play net, she controlled her area well, coming out and taking away chances before they developed. Our defence did a great job of keeping the Nanaimo shots to the outside, letting Kate see them from a long way out. When we put Kate in net, we lose her from our defensive mid area, but Celia [Burdet] and Mariah [Thomas] stepped up well and provided great coverage for her. It was also nice to see all four forwards get on the scoresheet today. This was truly a total team effort.”
After a series of slow starts to open the season, Cowichan got going early against Nanaimo when in the third minute, Burdet stole the ball and sent it down the wing to Kyla Pronk. Pronk fed Alyssa Klotz, who beat a defender and powered the ball in off the post. Cowichan doubled the lead when a ball cleared by the defence was flicked ahead by Klotz to Jada Hill, who went in alone to score.
Cowichan came out strong in the second half as Klotz set up Mariah Thomas in the 59th minute, and then Thomas fed Klotz four minutes later. Katerina Cook converted a penalty kick after Sammy Maclean was taken down in the box in the 74th minute. In the 82nd minute, Burdet sent the ball into the box for Cook; the Nanaimo goalie dove on the ball, but it squirted loose and Cook tapped it home.
In the dying minutes, a Nanaimo forward broke through the Cowichan defence and took a shot. Collins got a piece of it, but the ball bounced toward another player, who was poised to score before Pronk stretched to make a last-ditch clearance to help Collins secure the clean sheet.
Cowichan United will be back on the pitch next Sunday in Victoria against Fernwood FC.
In Div. 3, NIFA Pacific played to a 1-0 loss to Prospect Lake at Layritz Park despite having only 10 players on hand. Michelle Shaughnessy was solid in net, Erica Crocker was strong on defence, and midfielders Margaret Badger, Charlise Harris and Catherine Sampson ran miles.
“Our fitness and passing kept us playing solid for a full 90,” coach Dano Thorne noted. “We’re improving, and the ladies remain positive.”
NIFA will host Gorge Masters at the Cowichan Sportsplex on Sunday at 1 p.m.