Playing at the exact same time on Sunday afternoon, the Cowichan Valley’s two women’s soccer teams both got off to rough starts in the Stephanie Shergold Cup tournament.
The Div. 2 Cowichan Outlaws lost their cup opener 4-1 at home against Peninsula’s Div. 3 side, while the Over 30A Cowichan Cougars fell 6-2 to tournament favourite Lakehill at Braefoot Park
The Outlaws have relied heavily on call-up players from the U18 ranks in recent weeks, but those players aren’t eligible for cup play, and Cowichan was left shorthanded with only 12 players. The team got off to a slow start and never recovered.
Even with goalkeeper Gabrielle Marcolin stopping a breakaway, the Outlaws still found themselves down 2-0 after 15 minutes. They rallied to create a few chances before Ashley Grant scored her first goal of the season late in the second half to make it 2-1. As Cowichan pushed for the equalizer, Peninsula scored two more against the flow.
“Peninsula is coming up to Div. 2 next year,” coach Neall Rowlings pointed out. “And it’s apparent we have to add players for next season to give the core a fair chance.”
The Outlaws head to Victoria this weekend to face a Vic West team that beat them 3-0 last time they met. Cowichan will need a win to keep their cup dreams afloat.
“We could still make a Cinderella run if we focus,” Rowlings said. “But we have made it hard for ourselves.”
The Cougars got off to a good start in their tournament opener, but couldn’t keep pace with the heavily favoured Lakehill Div. 2 team.
Cowichan fended off an early assault by Lakehill, and opened the scoring on a goal by Ashley Stultz, but Lakehill countered with a pair after bumping goalkeeper Sara Tweten.
“It was a great passing play leading up to the goal,” Stultz said. “We managed to string together the passes we needed to give me a chance to beat the goalie.”
Lakehill took a 3-1 lead into the break. The teams traded goals early in the second half, with Stultz recording her second, but Lakehill added two more as Cowichan made a late push.
“The score was definitely not indicative of the game,” coach Darian Achurch said. “It was a close battle all the way through and we showed we are right there with the top teams in this tournament.”
The Cougars will play their next cup game at home when they host Gorge’s Div. 2 team at Evans Park this Sunday at 10 a.m.