Three youth teams in the Provincial B Cup running

Cowichan’s trio of championship teams heading to Coastal Cup games in april and Provincial B Cup competition in July includes the U15 Gold Grizzlies boys, coached by Al Longair and Ron Lederer. - submitted
Cowichan’s trio of championship teams heading to Coastal Cup games in april and Provincial B Cup competition in July includes the U15 Gold Grizzlies boys, coached by Al Longair and Ron Lederer.
— image credit: submitted

These are banner days for the Cowichan Valley Soccer Association with three teams qualifying for the Provincial B Cup playdowns.

That’s the first time three CVSA teams have all qualified for provincials in the same season, according to president Bill Keserich.

“All three were also league champions in their divisions as well,’’ he pointed out.

The provincials will all take place during July. But there’s some other business for the teams in April as well, with Coastal Cup semifinals against Lower Mainland teams.

Dates and sites of the April games are yet to be determined.

Coach David Doughty’s U16 Gold Cowichan Valley Spartans claimed the Lower Island B Cup trophy with a 2-1 win over Gorge.

Goals were scored by Matt Gurzinski and Lucas Grosse while Nathaniel White was heroic in goal, as he has been all season.

Doughty’s team went undefeated during league play with 11 wins and three ties for a nine-point advantage on Gorge.

Doughty’s been with the same basic group of players for three seasons.

“They’ve progressed over the last three years,’’ he said.

His team won the District Cup at U14 the first two years and added the Lower Island B Cup and League Cup this year.

“We’ve won four Cups in three years,’’ raved Doughty.

He’s looking forward to the big games ahead.

“Not knowing what the Vancouver teams play like, I would say we have a 50-50 chance at the moment,’’ Doughty said. “They’ve got a long way to go to provincials.

“Practices are still going to be going on every week. I’m not going to let them off the hook.’’

The U15 Gold Cowichan Grizzlies boys won all 17 games in the Lower Island league and also took the Lower Island final of the B Cup playoffs, leading to a dramatic 1-0 win over Nanaimo for the Island championship.

“The Island final was a fantastic game,’’ noted coach Al Longair. “It went down to under a minute left in the second half of overtime play before the boys put together a series of quick short passes to send our striker, Brendan Kerwin, in behind their defence.

“He then deftly put the ball inside the bottom of the far post for the win. The entire team played extremely well with everyone contributing to keeping the Harbour City team from scoring and keeping our attack going against a very stubborn and strong defence.

“They were totally exhausted after the game, but extremely exuberant.’’

It’s the second year Longair and Ron Lederer have coached the basic same group of boys. Team members include: Morgan Cook, Noah Corbett, Miles Boulton, Aidan Haigh, Antony Van Cleave, Colten Smith, Ty Benson, Eric Young, Luke Armstrong, Lucas Nagel, Noah Wickham, Kyle Smith, Brendan Kerwin, Shane Brown, Dane Skinner and Brent Brown.

The Cowichan Chaos U14 girls, under the direction of Brian Johnston and Ted Zinkan, joined the qualifiers with a 6-0 win over Comox in the Island final game.

“It was our best performance of the year,’’’ said Johnston. “We just played very well.

“It’s quite a strong team. We’re going to move a level up next year which is probably the right fit.’’

Cowichan won its previous game 4-2 in overtime over Bays to reach that stage. It was 2-0 for Cowichan at halftime on a small field but that’s “not really our comfort zone,’’ said Johnston. “It played a little bit more to their advantage.’’

Bays did indeed fight back with two second-half goals to force overtime.

But Cowichan made a great response in overtime with two goals in the first five minutes.

“The second 10 minutes, we just shut her down,’’ said Johnston. “They didn’t really have much.’’

Over the two games, Robyn Zinkan was electrifying with five goals while Emma DeWit scored two goals and assisted on three others in the Island final. Backs Kristen Banasch, Danielle Wince, Kara Labelle and Kylie Kidd all played well.

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