Powell River Villa played to a decisive 4-0 win against Comox United under sunny skies at Timberlane Park on Saturday, September 17.
“I thought Comox had a stronger start than we did in this game, but we settled in and started executing our game plan after the first 20 minutes or so,” said Chris McDonough, Villa’s manager. “Our first goal took some of the nerves out for the players, and then everything went according to plan. It was great to see.”
Villa captain Niko Cristante scored the first goal of the game at 16 minutes in the first half, followed at 41 minutes by the second goal from James Timothy, just before halftime.
“The first shot James had on net this game was almost a goal; it was all their goalie could do to get an arm on it to stop it from going in,” said Tony Leach, Villa’s coach. “He is very strong with his shooting and how quickly he releases the ball. That’s dangerous for our opponents and good for us.”
In the second half, Jake Kenmuir scored at 54 minutes and Cristante scored again at 80 minutes to finish off the game. Goalkeeper Matt Liknes earned the shutout.
“We’re picking up more things in training, working different phases of play and things like that, and we’re bringing that to the field and seeing results,” said Russell Pielle, who plays midfield for Villa. “We’re working as a team out there and starting to gel, and that makes us more positive, because we’re having fun.”
Leach and McDonough had high praise for Pielle’s performance on the field during Saturday’s match.
“Russell’s tackling was very good,” said McDonough. “He took lanes away, he intercepted and won so many balls in the midfield, and that really helped us keep the pressure on Comox. It was one of his best performances for Villa. We feel he was the game’s MVP.”
Griffin Leach, Kieran Hollmann Pritchard and new team member Kalem Lindstrom from Campbell River also earned kudos from the coaches for their excellent ball work.
“Our defensive line was very solid again, giving us a good foundation and making Comox work hard for any chances,” said McDonough. “Chico [Richard Murphy], Joel [Harry], Caiman [Duggan] and Nick [Van’t Schip] work very well together and are a wall on the back line.”
Villa is currently in third place in Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) standings as they head out for their first road game of the season against last year’s first-place team Lakehill FC in Victoria.
“This weekend, we played a team that pressured us, but we were able to handle their pace,” said Leach. “Lakehill is probably half again as fast as Comox, so this will be a good test for us.
“Lakehill has added more excellent players to their already phenomenal lineup, but we also have a stronger team this year, so we’re going to try to stay in the game and give ourselves an opportunity.”
Villa returns home on Saturday, October 1, to host Vic West FC at Timberlane. Kickoff will be at 1:30, and tickets are available at the gate.