Cowichan United finds a way to win in the driving rain

Selena Jack receives a throw-in from a Cowichan United teammate late in her team’s win over Gorge at the Sherman Road turf last Sunday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Selena Jack receives a throw-in from a Cowichan United teammate late in her team’s win over Gorge at the Sherman Road turf last Sunday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan United’s Alyssa Klotz drives toward the net late in her team’s win over Gorge at the Sherman Road turf last Sunday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan United’s Alyssa Klotz drives toward the net late in her team’s win over Gorge at the Sherman Road turf last Sunday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan United’s Celia Burdet beats a Gorge player to the ball late in Cowichan’s 3-0 win at the Sherman Road turf last Sunday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan United’s Celia Burdet beats a Gorge player to the ball late in Cowichan’s 3-0 win at the Sherman Road turf last Sunday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

In challenging conditions, Cowichan United found a way to win last Sunday afternoon, beating Gorge FC 3-0 on the Sherman Road turf to stay among the top teams in the Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association Div. 2 standings.

The rain was coming down in buckets throughout the early-afternoon match, and that could have been an equalizer between Cowichan and Gorge, who sit toward the bottom of the table.

“Looking at the standings, this was a game we should have won,” Cowichan coach Adam Paulson said. “I told the team before the game that days like this are when upsets can occur, and that our hard work securing a big win last week over Bays United wouldn’t mean anything if we lost this week. With the weather, and another big game next week, the conditions were right for us to overlook Gorge, and they are too good a team to make that mistake. It wasn’t the prettiest soccer by any means, but we got the result.”

The conditions were a problem in the early going as the ball skidded around the pitch, making first touches hard to get right. Cowichan started on the press, but couldn’t create any chances until the 16th minute, when Jada Hill took the ball from a Gorge defender and broke into the side of the 18-yard box before beating the goalie with a pinpoint shot to the far corner.

Cowichan continued to dominate and were rewarded in the 25th minute when Alyssa Klotz collected the ball in the midfield and threaded a pass to Seleana Jack, who stepped around two Gorge defenders and sent the ball into the bottom corner from the top of the box.

Gorge had the next couple of chances as they tried to fight back from the 2-0 deficit. A Gorge forward spotted Cowichan Kate Collins — Cowichan’s fill-in keeper — playing high, and tried to chip the ball in over her from 45 yards out. Collins managed to get back in time and pick the ball out of the air. Next, Gorge played the ball back in after it crossed the sideline and the officials missed the call, and a forward made her way toward the box. Cowichan defender Norah O’Reilly-Ryan recovered and took the ball away with a well-timed slide tackle.

Paulson said that at halftime, he stressed the importance of the next goal and challenged the players to clean up their passing in the terrible conditions. Cowichan responded, and after a series of fruitless corner kicks, Seleana Jack delivered a cross that found Samantha Walker near the back post, then went spinning off Walker’s foot and off Jada Hill and into the net. Cowichan had a couple more chances that fell short, and Collins secured her shutout by stopping a late free kick from 25 yards out.

Cowichan United will play at home again this Sunday, playing host to league-leading Juan de Fuca United on the Sherman Road turf at noon.

In the O30 ranks, the Cowichan Cougars had the weekend off as they transition from the B Division to the A Division. The Cougars will begin their foray into the A Division this Saturday when they play host to Prospect Lake on the Sherman Road turf at 4 p.m.

Div. 3 NIFA Pacific United FC also had last weekend off and will play host to JDF FC at the at the Sportsplex this Sunday at 1 p.m.

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