Week 5 of the top level of men’s amateur soccer on the Island is in the books, and some interesting results came out of Thanksgiving weekend in Division 1 of the Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL).
Friday started out with a close match at Starlight and Bays United added to Victoria Highlander woes, defeating them 1-0. A goal by Rhys Foster was enough to hand the Highlanders squad a loss and keep them looking for their first result of the season. It was a team effort for Bays in earning the shutout, as two keepers combined for the clean sheet.
Friday saw a game over the Malahat at Sherman Road turn into a blowout as visiting Lakehill defeated Cowichan 6-1. Tarnvir Bhandal, Sergio Duran, Aba Norbert-Cedric, Blair Sturrock, and a double from Craig Gorman did the damage for Lakehill. The Cowichan goal came late and spoiling the shutout was Devin Jack.
Friday saw another lopsided contest as Nanaimo shutout Westcastle 5-0. Nanaimo markers were from Benedek Horvath, Patrick Osakabe-Green, and a Daragh Fitzgerald hat-trick. Providing the clean sheet, Nanaimo’s third keeper to post a shutout this year, was former SFU keeper Miguel Hof.
Saturday got started with a surprising result in Powell River as hosts Villa held joint leaders Gorge FC to a 2-2 draw. The visiting Gorge team had goals from Evan Louden and Matthew Olaka. Powell River goals were by Niko Cristante and a Gorge own goal.
Saturday wrapped up with another Vic West blowout, this time a 7-1 romp over Comox. Comox actually opened the scoring with a goal from Charlie Purcell before Vic West took over. Ian Whibley hit four, Salem Almardy grabbed a brace, and Tarik Almardy got the other for the now sole league leaders.
After all of that action, here’s how the VISL Division 1 standings are looking after Week 5:
Vic West now stand alone in 1st place after Gorge dropped a couple of points to Villa. Both teams are still undefeated, one just being a little more prettier than the other.
As more teams pick up victories, the divisional separation begins and that is why you see Lakehill, Nanaimo, and Bays all with 9 points. The bottom of the table stays the same and many are surprised that the Highlanders are still in the basement looking for their first point of the season.
There were a couple shutouts on the weekend, but only one gets added to the clean sheets leaderboard in which Quin Henty of Lakehill is still leading.
With all the goals scored, the Golden Boot leaderboard has been affected and some new names are on it. What isn’t new is that Ian Whibley is leading the way with teammate Salem Almardy nipping at his heels.
It was another exciting weekend of grassroots soccer played in between Thanksgiving celebrations with friends and family. Another one looks in store this coming weekend, as just like that, we approach the third way point of the regular season.
Friday sees an all “North of the Malahat” battle as Cowichan Axis hosts Nanaimo Utd. Cowichan will look to bounce back after the tough loss last week, while Nanaimo will look to do more of what they did last week – soundly beat their opposition. As Nanaimo have started to find their form, look for them to earn three points on the road and stay in the 3rd place spot.
Saturday is a busy one and it opens Vanier Turf as Comox Utd hosts Lakehill FC, who have also made some adjustments, and have looked to improve from their slow start to the season. Comox has come down after their unbelievable start, and will be in tough to earn points off the Reds this weekend.
Next up on Saturday, Gorge FC host Bays at Hampton Turf. This should be a great match and could go either way, including a draw. Both teams are coming off very close games last weekend, but home field advantage might be just enough to earn some valuable points for the black and whites.
Saturday continues with the Victoria Highlanders hosting Vic West at Starlight Stadium. First versus last = a potentially tough night for the young developing Highlander squad. This could be a game where some stats get padded, noting that the Highlanders have not really given up a lot of goals all things considered.
Saturday, and the weekend, wraps up with Westcastle hosting Powell River Villa at Finlayson Turf. This will be a huge game for both teams as splitting of points is probable. Should Powell River come down with a full squad, look for them to build on their success from last weekend.
Here’s the full schedule.
Results will dictate a lot this weekend, and while movement at the top might not get affected, the rest of the division will.
Will we see an undefeated battle come next weekend? Will there be a shake up in the relegation zone at the bottom of the division?
These questions, and many more, will be answered, and the first third of the regular season will be complete.
For the VISL Game of the Week, we dip into the 2nd Division and head out to Sooke. Both of the teams promoted from Division 3 last year are currently holding 1st and 2nd spots. Sooke Celtic hosting Mid Isle Mariners at 8 pm, at Fred Milne Park.
Thanks for your continued support of those players and teams who work, live, play, and school in your community.