In his three years with Cowichan LMG, Steve Scott has been a Nanaimo FC killer.
In that time, the SS Monster has been involved in the decisive goal in every Vancouver Island Soccer League game he has played against Nanaimo, scoring the winning goal three times and the tying goal once, and setting up two game-winners.
“He just plays well against them,” Cowichan head coach Glen Martin said. “He gets motivated for every game, so that’s not it. Some teams you just match up better with. He always has good games against Nanaimo. He doesn’t have numbers like that against anyone else.”
Scott’s latest game-winner found the back of the net last Saturday as Cowichan got past Nanaimo 3-2. Martin had noted prior to the game that Cowichan-Nanaimo clashes are typically low-scoring, then acknowledged that, just because he said that, last weekend’s game was probably going to be a high-scoring affair.
Early on, the match was relatively even and looked like it was going to continue the usual pattern.
“It started as a typical Cowichan-Nanaimo game,” Martin said. “Everyone was ready to go. Everyone was at a high intensity.”
Twenty-eight minutes into the game, Mason Chang opened the scoring with his third goal of the year on a shot from about 20 yards out. Less than a minute later, Cooper Barry stripped the ball from a Nanaimo player and fed it to Paddy Nelson, who scored his 19th of the year.
Five minutes after that, Cowichan midfielder Jordan De Graf was run over and knocked off the ball. The play should have been a foul, but play continued. Defender Luca Klotz delivered a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit on the same Nanaimo player who ran over De Graf, however, and was called for a penalty shot. The kick was successful, and Cowichan’s lead was cut to 2-1, where it stayed through halftime.
Ten minutes into the second half, a Nanaimo shot deflected in off a Cowichan player’s foot to make it 2-2.
That set up Scott’s heroics. For no discernible reason, Nanaimo had changed their goalie at halftime, even though neither goal had been his fault, and when Scott was awarded a penalty kick, the replacement wasn’t up to the job.
With three league games remaining, Cowichan remains first in the Div. 1 standings, six points ahead of Comox Valley in the hunt for the Garrison Cup.
The team’s next game will be the first one on the new turf at the Sherman Road park. Cowichan will host Bays United at 6 p.m. this Friday, and Martin hopes to have some surprises for fans who attend, in addition to what should be an excellent soccer game.
“It should be a good night, win, lose or draw,” the coach said.
Bays is fourth in Div. 1, and has been one of Cowichan’s most fierce rivals in recent years. The teams tied 2-2 when they played at UVic earlier this season.
“They’re always difficult games for us,” Martin said. “They’ll have all their best players out.”