On a muddy pitch in Victoria, the Comox Valley Masters men’s 35-plus soccer team defeated the Vantreights 4-3 in a penalty shootout in the second round of Tony Grover Cup play Sunday at Glasgow Park.
A back-and-forth first half ended scoreless with several squandered opportunities at both ends of the field. Vantreights struck early in the second frame when a forward squirted past the Comox defence and beat guest keeper Chris Briere, who was filling in for Andrew Barnie. It appeared the hosts had the game in the bag, but Comox striker Tony Senerchia scored a late equalizer on a well-placed shot from about 18 yards.
Comox came out quickly in the first 15-minute overtime half. Midfielder Sandy Grant struck early, finishing a goalmouth scramble. Minutes later, striker Peter ‘Pistol’ Croonen fired a beauty inside the post, beyond the reach of the Vantreights’ keeper, who was stellar in net. The third goal appeared to seal the deal for Comox Valley, but the home side clawed back with a late goal in the first OT period, and again late in the second.
In the shootout, defender Andy Marinus took over goaltending duties from Briere and stopped two of five Vantreights’ shooters for the victory.
Comox Valley faces Gordon Head Old School in a third round match Sunday in Victoria.
The Tony Grover O35 Cup involves 20 teams in the Vancouver Island Soccer League and four Upper Island teams. Qualicum and Campbell River lost in the first round. Comox Valley received a bye.
Powell River, which won its first two matches, awaits the winner of a second round game between two Nanaimo teams.
The two finalists of the Tony Grover Cup qualify for the 35-plus provincial championships. Powell River has qualified the last two years.