A 2-1 win in Burnaby last Saturday gave the Cowichan Cougars their first-ever provincial title, as well as some revenge over Meralomas.
The last time the BC Soccer Women’s Masters B Cup was hoisted, in 2019, Meralomas defeated Cowichan, but in 2022, it was the Cougars’ turn to prevail.
“It was a great team win and a perfect end to the season,” Cougars coach Darian Achurch declared. “I am so proud of these ladies and am glad they are being rewarded for the hard work and time they put into improving as a team.”
Shrugging off a last-minute change to the game’s start time and a ferry trip to the Mainland, the Cougars came out strong, creating several chances before they opened the scoring in the seventh minute. The ball popped free from a turnover to regular-season scoring leader Jenna Waddy, and she did the same thing she has done all year, burying the ball in the corner of the net.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Meralomas responded just three minutes later out of a scramble in the Cowichan goal area.
The Cougars continued to attack, and clawed back in front in the 20th minute on a goal by game MVP Ashley Stultz.
“It was really a team goal,” Stultz insisted. “It was a great corner by Stacey [de Lusignan] and we won the header back across the net. I was just the player on the end of the hard work.”
Cowichan took a 2-1 lead into halftime, and continued to dominate play when the teams returned to the pitch. But even as they created more chances, the Meralomas defence and goalkeeper kept making big stops to keep the game close. Meralomas made one final push to knot the score in the final minute, but missed the net on a header.
The win marked the first provincial title for the Cougars, the first masters title for the Cowichan Valley Soccer Association since the men’s team won in 1998, and the first adult title for the CVSA since the U21 men won in 2008.