With games last weekend against the two teams ahead of them in the Vancouver Island Soccer League U21 standings, Cowichan United had an opportunity to move into first place.
While they split those matches and missed out on taking over the top spot, the first-year team still managed to keep its hopes for a top-three finish alive.
“Out of the weekend, to be able to get at least a split was what we needed to achieve to keep in contention for the top three spots,” Cowichan assistant coach Ryan Fusick said. “I was pleased with what we ended up with, but it’s unfortunate we didn’t get a result in both.”
United beat Prospect Lake 3-1 at Layritz Park on Friday, and could have moved into first with a win at home over the Mid Isle Mariners, but had to settle for a 2-1 loss. Prospect started the weekend atop the league standings, but ceded that position to Mid Isle, while Cowichan moved from fourth to third.
Cowichan got off to arguably their best start of the year on Friday, scoring twice in the first five minutes. Goalkeeper Braeden Nash was unlucky to miss out on the shutout as Prospect scored in the last 10 minutes. Logan Kits finished the night with two goals, and Brennan Shaver had the other.
“Friday night was probably one of the best games I’ve seen the guys play,” Fusick commented. “It was one of our strongest defensive games.”
Kits had Cowichan’s only goal in the loss to Mid Isle on Sunday as his team had trouble finishing chances and suffered a couple of minor defensive lapses.
“Sunday wasn’t quite the same,” Fusick said. “Both teams were playing their second game of the weekend. It didn’t seem like either team was pushing to play.”
Cowichan now sits five points back of Mid Isle, two back of Prospect, and two ahead of Lakehill as the four teams jockey for position. All the teams have three games left except Lakehill, which has five remaining.
United has this weekend off, and will get back in action on Feb. 16 when they visit Juan de Fuca.