SANDY GRANT OF the Comox Valley Masters men's 35-plus soccer team scored three goals in the home opener.

Masters men’s soccer team leads league

35-plus squad is undefeated after three games in four-team North Island league

The Comox Valley Masters men’s 35-plus soccer team is undefeated after three games, which puts the squad in first place in the four-team North Island league.

The boys tied 1-1 Sunday in a spirited road game against two-time defending league champion Powell River. The home side scored in the first half but Comox squared things up after the halftime break on a goal by midfielder Andrew Duncan, who split a pair of players and slotted the ball into the top corner from outside the 18-yard box.

Duncan later earned a yellow card for a tough tackle, after which he was ploughed to the ground by Powell River defender Derek Veenoff, who was slapped with a red card. Though down a player, the home side created several scoring chances. Late in the game, Comox goalie Andrew Barnie made a point-blank save, stoning Powell’s dangerous striker Lee Illing, who appeared to be a kick away from winning the game.

Comox Valley sits atop the standings with seven points while Powell River is in fourth with one point. Qualicum and Campbell River each have three points. The former beat the latter 2-1 in an entertaining Friday evening match in Qualicum.

Comox Valley kicked off the season with a 4-0 home drubbing of Campbell River. Midfielder Sandy Grant scored a hat-trick, with two goals off his head. Forward Tony Senerchia, a new addition to the team, also scored on a well-placed, low shot from outside the box. Stellar play of the four-man defence frustrated the Campbell River attack the entire game.

In its second match at Valley View Park, Comox found itself down 2-0 at halftime to Qualicum. Slick midfielder Russ Hannay scored both goals for the visitors. The home side woke up in the second half. Forward Mark Barber was the first to find the back of the net on a long-range shot that sailed over the keeper’s head and under the crossbar. Defender Doug Tinga scored a penalty shot to tie the game, then Ryan Thir — immediately after being subbed onto the field — scored the winner by driving to the net and converting a low cross from winger Andrew Scott.

The Comox Valley 48s are also undefeated this season, wining their first three games against Campbell River, Qualicum and Nanaimo. The squad tied a second Nanaimo team in a road game last weekend.

The 60s have played three games, with a win, a tie and a loss. They lost their opener to Qualicum, tied Nanaimo Masters in their second match and defeated Nanaimo City 4-1 on the weekend.

 

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