Cowichan LMG’s Jackson Cup run came to an end last Friday night with a 3-0 semifinal loss to Bays United in at the Sherman Road turf.
Cowichan just didn’t have what it took to beat the stacked Bays team that night, coach Ryan Flynn lamented.
“We had our chances early,” he commented. “It was just one of those games: they were really good and it wasn’t our best game. Every player needed to be at their best, and it just wasn’t there.”
Cowichan had multiple corner kicks in the first few minutes, and headed one of their best chances over the net.
“I’ve seen that same ball go in three or four times this year,” Flynn commented.
Bays weathered the onslaught and scored three times in the first half, the last goal coming right before halftime.
“They had limited players but they knew exactly what they wanted to do and stuck to their system,” Flynn observed.
Cowichan played hard in the second half and generated several opportunities, but couldn’t score.
“We had a couple of good chances in the second half, but I knew when we didn’t score in the first 15 minutes that it would be tough to get back in,” Flynn said.
Disappointing as the result was, Flynn tried to put it in context of where the team was at the beginning of the season.
“If we were to have this conversation in August and you told me we were going to be in the Jackson Cup semifinals, I would have said you were dreaming,” he said. “At that point, we had eight players, and the club wanted to fold the team.”
Cowichan will still qualify for the provincial tournament in one of five Vancouver Island spots. Although Cowichan finished sixth in the league, the fifth-place Victoria Highlanders have opted out due to other commitments, freeing up their spot for Cowichan.
“Probably out of the 16 teams we’ll be seeded 16th, but it gives us an opportunity to keep playing as a team and it gives the guys a chance to play some top competition,” Flynn said. “And anything can happen when you’re playing.”
The draw for provincials will take place on April 3, and the first games will be played on the weekend of April 22-24.
Regardless of how that tournament goes, Flynn is pleased with the way the Island season went.
“I’m proud of the guys,” he said. “We played 23 games, and we had 23 different lineups. We had 24 good players and numerous call-ups. We had four different goalies and four shutouts. We were able to do a lot of good things this season.”