Cowichan LMG plays to scoreless draw with Westcastle

Cowichan LMG players watch a performance by the Tzinquaw Dancers to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation prior to their match against Westcastle United last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan LMG players watch a performance by the Tzinquaw Dancers to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation prior to their match against Westcastle United last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan LMG players watch a performance by the Tzinquaw Dancers to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation prior to their match against Westcastle United last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan LMG players watch a performance by the Tzinquaw Dancers to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation prior to their match against Westcastle United last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan LMG players salute the Tzinquaw Dancers following a pregame performance to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation prior to their match against Westcastle United last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan LMG players salute the Tzinquaw Dancers following a pregame performance to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation prior to their match against Westcastle United last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan LMG players sported orange armbands to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation during their match against Westcastle United last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan LMG players sported orange armbands to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation during their match against Westcastle United last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan LMG players sported orange armbands to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation during their match against Westcastle last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan LMG players sported orange armbands to honour the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation during their match against Westcastle last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Mateo Kostering makes a tackle during Cowichan LMG’s match against Westcastle at the Sherman Road turf last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Mateo Kostering makes a tackle during Cowichan LMG’s match against Westcastle at the Sherman Road turf last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Blaze Roberts moves the ball during Cowichan LMG’s match against Westcastle at the Sherman Road turf last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Blaze Roberts moves the ball during Cowichan LMG’s match against Westcastle at the Sherman Road turf last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan LMG’s Henry James and a Westcastle player turn back to chase the ball during the teams’ 0-0 draw at the Sherman Road turf on Friday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan LMG’s Henry James and a Westcastle player turn back to chase the ball during the teams’ 0-0 draw at the Sherman Road turf on Friday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan LMG’s Mateo Kostering beats a Westcastle player to the ball during the teams’ scoreless draw at the Sherman Road turf last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan LMG’s Mateo Kostering beats a Westcastle player to the ball during the teams’ scoreless draw at the Sherman Road turf last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan LMG’s Div. 1 men’s soccer game last Friday took a back seat to an inspiring pregame ceremony to mark the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

The game on the Sherman Road turf opened with a performance by the Tzinquaw Dancers, and the players warmed up in orange T-shirts and sported orange armbands throughout the match, which ended in a scoreless draw between Cowichan and Westcastle United.

Coach Ryan Flynn speculated that his team was so committed to keeping the ball out of their own net, they avoided taking the chances that might have led scoring opportunities of their own.

“I think we were so focused on not allowing a goal, the guys were reluctant to do risk/reward kind of plays,” he said.

Much of the game was played in the middle of the pitch, with only a handful of corner kicks and free kicks. When called upon, however, Cowichan goalkeeper Ray Fox was phenomenal.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Fox is one of Cowichan’s 11 First Nations players, and came west to play for the Vancouver Island University Mariners. When the Mariners brought in a new goalie, pushing him down the depth chart, he went looking for a new place to play.

“He came to the Island to be a starter,” Flynn explained. “We’re definitely happy to have him. Him and Taylor Joe give us a combination of two good goalies. He has played well for us all year.”

Cowichan’s Man of the Match was left back Darian Harris, a rookie in Div. 1 who has played two of three games for Cowichan this season, going 90 minutes in both. Harris is a former junior A and B hockey player whose athleticism has made the transition to soccer a smooth one.

“He excelled in hockey,” Flynn commented. “This is only his third year of organized soccer. He’s a very talented kid. He can go a long ways in the VISL if he wants to.”

LMG had to make some changes at centre back as well. Already missing Jose Muro for the match, the team lost Jordan Korven to an injury early on. The job instead fell to the pairing of Russell Lederer and Jake Kenmuir, a dedicated player who had been travelling from Vancouver each week to play and is now travelling from Powell River.

“He’s more a forward than a centre back, but he played well at centre back,” Flynn said of Kenmuir.

Now with one win, one draw and one loss, Cowichan will play at home against Comox Valley United this Saturday at 8 p.m. The upcoming match is the second of three in a row that Flynn was looking at as great chances to pick up some wins early in the season.

“It will be a test for us to see where we’re really at,” the coach said. “We’re hoping this game gives us an opportunity to get a win at home. With these three games, you want to have at least one win.”

In Div. 3, Cowichan Oak FC played to a 0-0 tie with Salt Spring FC at the Sherman Road turf on Saturday. The Oak will take their 1-2-1 record on the road against Gorge FC this Sunday.

In Div. 4, the Cowichan Fury tied Vantreights 1-1 at Heywood Park on Saturday. Brad Thorne scored for Cowichan at 24 minutes, and Vantreights tied things up in the 87th minute. Still looking for their first win at 0-2-2, the Fury will host JDF United on the Keserich grass pitch this Saturday at 6 p.m.

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