Juan de Fuca’s run to the Jackson Cup final ended in a 2-0 loss to Cowichan FC but there’s nothing disappointing about Sunday’s result at Royal Athletic Park.
One of five cup games played over the weekend, Cowichan won the Island’s premier trophy for men’s soccer – their first since 1933. They lost in the final to Gorge last year.
This time the more experienced Cowichan side took advantage of their Division 1 rookie opponents.
Cowichan defender Tyler Hughes scored on a penalty shot nine minutes in, an unsettling blow for JdF.
Dan Citra scored later in the first half off a volley.
Juan de Fuca did a much better job in limiting Cowichan’s chances in the second half but were held to one real scoring chance, a near miss past Cowichan goalie Kevin James.
“We had a way better second half,” said JdF coach Steve Bottomley. “That’s the whole idea with young teams. It takes a while to get into games but they’re doing it.
“If we said at the beginning of the year we would have been here (in the Jackson final), everybody would have laughed.”
No one’s laughing now as Juan de Fuca, who terminated Gorge’s five-year reign with a 2-1 win in the Jackson quarterfinals, carry on with Gorge, Bays Utd., Gordon Head and Cowichan into this spring’s provincials.
Cowichan’s Ryan Andrew was named the game MVP for his dominating control in the midfield while Bottomley lauded co-captain Jordan French for an outstanding effort of his own.
Gorge take first champions schedule Pacific Cup
Sunday was a triple-header at RAP with Gorge and Gordon Head meeting in the first-ever Pacific Cup final.
Gorge won 4-1, with a stalwart effort by Brent Garraway, who scored two goals. Garraway scored soon after he returned to the game after an elbow left him swollen under his eye and limited his vision. His goal came on a rebound off his own free kick. Bobby Eng and Kyle Finner also scored for Gorge while Craig Gorman scored for Gordon Head.
The Pacific Cup is a champions league format between the VISL and Fraser Valley league, with Vancouver Metro coming on board for next season.
“The Pacific Cup is a response to the lack of a B.C. premier league,” said former VISL president Kjeld Brodsgaard, who has been part of the tournament’s development for years.
It’s been a long season for Gorge, who won silver at the nationals in October. The team has undergone a significant turnover with many veterans moving on to the over-35 masters league, and being replaced by youngsters. For that reason, and the fact the Pacific Cup hasn’t been won before, it’s hard to gauge the trophy’s worth at this point, said Gorge coach Julius Karpati.
“It might be more important in 10 years. It’s going to be an increasingly difficult feat to win this. The mandate of the dressing room was to win, and now we can say we’ve won it,” Karpati said.
Over-35, U21 and Challenge
Two of Gorge Div. 1’s players who moved on are Kevin and John Mennie. The brothers suited up for UVic Alumni in the first game at RAP on Sunday, the Tony Grover Cup masters final against over-35 Gorge.
Gorge went ahead 3-0 and held on to defeat UVic 3-2. Darcy Greaves (5th minute), Jamie Ackinclose (35th) and Jon Wolstenhome (40th) tallied for Gorge. Nick Gilbert scored both UVic goals in the second half.
“We started off too slow, had some defensive errors and Gorge took advantage,” UVic Alumni coach Moreno Stefani said.
In the U21 final, the Victoria Highlanders defeated the Bays Utd. Gunners 4-0 for the George Smith Cup. Scoring for the Highlanders were Kevin Brown, Dylan Iruretagoyena, Daniel Jones (game MVP) and Kurt Macauley. Goalie Brock Reed earned the shutout.
The Vic West Spurs (Div. 3A) won the Challenge Cup, 2-0 over the Campbell River Golden Wings (Div. 3B). Kale Haley and Shaun Gurney (MVP) scored for Vic West, Scott Samuelson earned the clean sheet.