Cowichan LMG didn’t lose any momentum during the Christmas break.
Sitting atop the Vancouver Island Soccer League Div. 1 standings going into the six-week adjournment, Cowichan returned to action last Saturday with a 2-1 road win over the V.I. Wave.
The ninth-place Wave had something to play for as they try to avoid being bumped to Div. 2, and had about 20 players on hand, hoping their depth would help them upset the top team.
“They had everybody there,” Cowichan head coach Glen Martin said. “It was an important game for them. They’re in relegation mode.”
Paddy Nelson opened the scoring for Cowichan with a terrific individual effort in the 18th minute. The Wave answered back with about six minutes left in the first half following a throw-in that many onlookers felt should have been called offside. Jordan Korven potted the eventual game-winner in the second half when he knocked the ball in on a set piece off a shot by Nelson.
With three games left in league play, Cowichan has a comfortable seven-point lead over second-place Vic West, while three teams are tied for third, 11 points back. Cowichan will play the first of those final three games this Friday at 7 p.m. when they host Bays United.
Martin says his team is strong heading into the home stretch.
“Our spirits are good,” he noted. “Our numbers our looking good. The team is strong.”
Cowichan will play the V.I. Wave again in the first round of the Jackson Cup tournament in mid February. Cowichan lost the Jackson Cup final last spring, and will look to regain the title they last won in 2016. LMG will have a difficult route through their half of the bracket, which was announced earlier this month.
“This will be the hardest one we’ve ever had to win,” Martin said.