Nanaimo United women have a chance to be the very best on Vancouver Island for the first time in two decades.
The United premier women’s side will play Lakehill FC this Sunday, April 7, for the Terry Price Cup, the top honour in the Lower Island Women’s Soccer Association.
United defeated the Saanich Fusion 5-0 in last week’s semifinal to advance to the cup final, which will be played at Layritz Field in Saanich.
Daragh Fitzgerald, coach of United’s premier women, said the final will be a tough one.
“We play Lakehill who are probably the most similar to ourselves in the league in that they like to play quick, attacking [soccer] and keep it on ground,” he said.
United beat Lakehill by a 4-1 margin the last time the sides met, but had mixed results against that opponent over the course of the season. That said, United has been particularly strong in the new year, unbeaten so far, and Fitzgerald said the team has been “doing the basics right” whether they have the ball or they’re chasing it. That will be key again this weekend, he said.
“In possession, being positive, being attacking, playing quickly, and then out of possession, just really working hard to put pressure on the ball…” the coach said. “We always pretty much worry about ourselves and if we get it right, what we do, then we’re pretty confident.”
In last Saturday’s semifinal win at Merle Logan Field, Karen Battie, Shea Battie, Moira Brown, Martyne Kolich and Natsu Yayama scored the goals and goalkeeper Emily Rowbotham registered the shutout.
Fitzgerald said the women have been looking sharp in training and approaching the final with excitement. He said Nanaimo hasn’t won the Terry Price Cup in 20 years and said opportunities to play for a championship don’t come often.
“For the cup final, there’s going to be nerves and there’s going to be things like that, but you just get on with it, you play your game, you enjoy it,” he said.
In other club news, the Nanaimo United Div. 3 women won the Frank Leversedge Cup, defeating the Lakehill Gunners 3-1 this past Sunday at Victoria’s Braefoot Park. United’s Div. 1 women made it to the semifinals of the Doug Day Cup playdowns before they were eliminated.
GAME ON … United’s premier women face Lakehill FC on Sunday, April 7, at 1 p.m. at Layritz Field in Saanich.