Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
March 5, 2017, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Vancouver Island Wave scored a pair of second-half goals to defeat Cowichan United 2-0 in Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) Jackson Cup quarter-final playoff action Sunday afternoon at the Finlayson Turf at Topaz Park in Victoria.
The win advances the Division 1 Wave into the semi-finals where they will take on division rivals Nanaimo United on March 18th at Merl Logan Turf in Nanaimo (7:00 pm).
The winner of that game will take on the winner of the other Jackson Cup semi-final, taking place on Saturday March 17th (7:15 pm) at Hampton Park in Victoria between Gorge FC and Cowichan FC.
The Jackson Cup final is slated for Sunday April 2 at 2:30 pm at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
In Sunday’s quarter-final, the Wave carried the play during most of the first half, but never really threatened, other than one solid shot straight at Cowichan goaltender Darian Achurch that he easily gathered in and another attempt off a corner that missed the mark.
Cowichan, for their part, spent very little time in the Wave end, with their only real threat to score coming on a shot off a corner attempt that goaltender Mitchell Whittla tipped over the bar.
In the second half, Cowichan came out with renewed energy to begin the frame, but continued to be thwarted by a solid Wave defence. The game settled in after that, with both teams spending a good amount of time in the mid-field area, looking for opportunities to penetrate the opposing team’s defence.
The Wave looked like they would be first to strike midway through the half, when Matteo Ventura, who had just subbed in, broke free off the left wing and launched a beautiful curving shot toward the top corner of the net, but a sensational diving save from Achurch kept the score knotted at 0-0.
Shortly after that, Cowichan was called for a hand ball in their own crease, giving the Wave the first penalty kick opportunity of the game. Matteo would be tasked with the shot and after Achurch made another great diving save, he could not control the rebound and Matteo pounced on it, easily putting it in the goal and giving the wave a 1-0 lead.
Cowichan would pressure a couple of more times after that to no avail and when the Wave’s Blair Sturrock scored in the final minutes of the half to make it 2-0, Cowichan’s hopes of advancement in the playoffs were over.
In other VISL action Sunday afternoon, also at Topaz Park, a Division 4 quarter-final playoff match saw Castaways Invicta defeat the Victoria Blazers 3-2 in a game that was decided by penalty kicks.
The Castaways will now meet SPL in one Division 4 semi-final on the March 17 weekend, while the other will be played between the Zgoda Juniors and Bays United. A date for the Division 4 final is yet to be determined.
For more information on all VISL playoff action, visit the VISL web page at http://www.visl.org
For more photos of this game, please visit photographer Christian J. Stewart’s web site at http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/f373407129