Photo by Sam Patterson.

Comox Valley United still with a chance to remain in division one next season

Despite finishing in the relegation zone, CVU could play in a “challenge game” to remain in Div. 1

For the second season in a row, the Comox Valley United men’s soccer team has been granted one last saving grace.

Under normal circumstances, the bottom two teams in the Vancouver Island Soccer League’s first division are relegated to division two for the following year, while the top two teams in that league are promoted to Div. 1.

This year — just like last season — Comox Valley United (CVU) finished ninth in the 10-team VISL first division, meaning the team should expect to play in Div. 2 next year.

But that might not be the case.

Because the winner of Div. 2 — Lakehill — is part of a club that already has a team in the first division, the general rules for relegation/promotion no longer apply. Clubs often choose to only have one team playing in each division.

Jeremy Pearson, the head coach of Lakehill’s division two team, said he will let his players vote in the coming weeks whether or not they want to play in division one next year.

If Lakehill chooses to remain in division two, the third-placed team in that league will be offered a “challenge match” against CVU later this spring. The winner of that match will play in division one next year, while the loser will play in Div. 2.

If the third-placed team declines the challenge match, the fourth-placed team will be offered it instead. If that team declines as well, CVU will stay in division one.

Coincidentally, it’s the same scenario that Comox Valley United found itself in last year. The team was ultimately successful in its challenge match, beating Westcastle FC 3-2.

VISL Div.2 table

Comox Valley United’s 2017-18 season came to an end on Saturday, Feb. 10 with a 2-2 draw at home against Bays United Liquor Plus, of Victoria.

Goals for the Comox Valley came from Nick Marinus and Stefan Szkwarek, while Brandon Wallace scored both goals for Bays United.

The Reds needed a win on Saturday night to have a chance of leapfrogging the eight-place VI Wave and escaping the relegation zone. On top of that hypothetical result, the Reds needed the Wave to lose to fourth-placed Gorge FC.

Read More: Comox Valley United stares relegation in the face for second consecutive season

In the end, even a win wouldn’t have been enough for the Comox Valley; the Wave beat Gorge FC 2-0 on the same day to secure the eighth spot.

CVU head coach Carey Cordocedo said his team showed a lot of effort and intensity in the final game of the VISL regular season.

“We had numerous chances to go ahead but we couldn’t find the winner,” he said.

Following the final whistle, the Comox Valley United Soccer Club presented the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue with a $3,000 cheque. The funds came from the proceeds of a tournament hosted by the club in December to honour former CVU player Tom Butcher, who passed away in a kayaking accident in December 2016.

Read More: Comox Valley soccer club hosts memorial tournament for teammate

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The Comox Valley United Soccer Club presented a cheque to the Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue after the game. Photo by Sam Patterson.

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