Blaze Roberts needed just 11 minutes to score a hat trick on Saturday night as he paced Cowichan LMG to a 4-0 win over Juan de Fuca All Flows in Victoria on Saturday night.
Roberts scored in the 26th, 35th and 37 minutes to put his team ahead 3-0, and Cowichan cruised from there to get past the JDF team that earned promotion from Div. 2 of the Vancouver Island Soccer League after a top-two finish last season.
Cowichan took it easy in the early going, assistant coach Ryan Flynn said, before taking over and dominating the rest of the match.
“For a new team, you have to see how they play, not knowing how they’re going to be,” he explained. “That’s how it was for the first 15 minutes. We sat back and watched what they were doing. Then we started to take control of the game.”
It didn’t help the JDF cause that they were handed a red card at the 29-minute mark, a situation no team wants to be in against one of the league’s stronger clubs.
“As a new team, [to the division], they can’t have any lulls or red cards, because it goes against them when they’re playing a team like Cowichan,” Flynn said. “It didn’t turn the game too much in our favour because we were already in control, but after that it was a very easily managed game, from the players, coaches, goalies, everybody.”
Roberts’s hat trick gave him a league-leading eight goals on the season. Unfortunately, the striker also earned a yellow card in the 30th minute, his third on the season which means he will have to sit out the next game.
The fourth goal came from rookie Logan Kits.
“It was a hard game for him, not playing on the turf where he likes to move the ball,” Flynn pointed out.
Kits is second on the team with five goals in seven matches.
“Hopefully he keeps scoring and putting up points,” Flynn added. “It would be nice to see a Cowichan rookie get Rookie of the Year.”
Steve Scott, who does a little bit of everything for Cowichan, was among the team’s best players on Saturday.
“He was up front for the first time this year and he played really well,” Flynn said. “Probably his best game of the year.”
Govinda Innes was “incredible” at left and right defence, Flynn added, and Jose Muro was picked as Man of the Match after starting for the first time and putting in 75 minutes at right defence.
“He’s a very veteran kind of player,” the coach said. “He’s not fancy, but he goes out athere and does what we need him to.”
Everyone got to play in the match, including backup goalkeeper Taylor Joe, who shared the clean sheet with starter Darian Achurch.
“It’s nice to reward guys for their efforts and practice with some playing time,” Flynn said.
Now third in Div. 1 with four wins, one loss and two ties, Cowichan will play host to the division’s other newly promoted squad, Powell River Villa, at the Sherman Road turf this Sunday at 1 p.m.
“They’re coming off a couple of good results, a win and a tie against good teams,” Flynn noted. “It’s not going to be an easy game for us with the way they’ve been playing, but if we do what we’ve been doing, it should work out.”