At halftime on Saturday, March 23, Powell River Villa was 45 minutes away from a division title. One week after earning promotion to Vancouver Island Soccer League Division 1, the club played its last game of the season with a chance to overtake idle Victoria Highlanders for the Division 2 title. Only fourth-place Saanich Fusion stood in the way.
“We started the game pretty well and had quite a few chances in the first half hour, but missed on a penalty kick,” said Villa coach Chris McDonough. “We scored not long after with more sustained pressure; Kye Taylor just put the ball into the right corner past the keeper.”
Saanich came to life in the second half while Villa came out flat, according to the coach.
“They put on a lot of pressure and got the tying goal 10 to 15 minutes into the half; not long after they scored again to take the lead,” said McDonough. “We put a lot of pressure on in the last 10 minutes but weren't able to get that tying goal, and we really needed to win the game, so we were hoping to get two. It didn't go our way.”
McDonough said although the 2-1 loss was disappointing, when looking back at the whole season, it was a success.
“We are really excited to be going to the first division and playing against the best teams on Vancouver Island,” he added. “It’s going to be a huge challenge to play at the top level. Good teams will be coming to Powell River for games next year; it will be very competitive.”
The coach said he plans to be back behind the bench next year, and expects most of the players to return for the new challenge, too.
“We have two to three guys who have played in Division 1 but most of the players haven't been up to that level; it’s something good players want to do,” said McDonough. “We have a good core and we hope to add to that with some new additions.”
Training for next season begins in August; the season starts in September.
Victoria Highlanders finished one point ahead of Villa to claim the Division 2 title.