Sports

Nanaimo United unstoppable right now

Nanaimo United player Scott Newlands goes way up to head the ball during a Vancouver Island Soccer League Div. 1 match against Victoria’s Prospect Lake Lakers on Sunday afternoon at Beban Park’s Merle Logan Field. United won 3-1. - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
Nanaimo United player Scott Newlands goes way up to head the ball during a Vancouver Island Soccer League Div. 1 match against Victoria’s Prospect Lake Lakers on Sunday afternoon at Beban Park’s Merle Logan Field. United won 3-1.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo United suggested it was just happy playing the spoiler role at this stage of the season. It was being modest.

United’s Div. 1 men won two more matches on the weekend and is now 6-1-1 in its last eight games in Vancouver Island Soccer League action.

The most impressive feat came Friday night at Merle Logan Field, when United entertained a Gordon Head team that had been in first place at the time and hammered the visitors by an eye-popping 6-1 score.

“I hadn’t expected, necessarily, that many goals,” said Scott Davison, coach of the United men. “We tried a few changes in the offensive end of the field and it worked out nicely.”

United scored less than two minutes into the contest and built a 5-0 lead by halftime.

“I think we surprised them a bit…” said Paddy Greig, United player. “We went hard at them right away, scored some early goals and got them on their heels.”

Davison said fast ball movement along the turf, rather than through the air, was again the key.

“They executed perfectly, with pace, and knocked it around their back line and through the midfield as well and kept possession,” the coach said.

Jared Stephens and Dan Cato each had a pair of goals, Jordan Reems had one and Scott Newlands had the other.

Two days later, United won a slower-paced affair 3-1 against the Prospect Lake Lakers, also at Merle Logan Field. Nanaimo used the matchup to get more players out on the turf.

“They need a taste of it, to make sure that we’re ready for cup [playoffs],” Davison said. “They all showed well.”

Stephens, Newlands and Thomas Anderson were Nanaimo’s scorers on Sunday.

United (8-6-3) has one game left in the regular season. It will need help on the out-of-town scoreboard, but could conceivably finish fourth in Div. 1.

That would give the team a berth in provincial playoffs, in addition to the upcoming Jackson Cup playoffs.

“There’s a great feeling around the club right now,” said Greig.

GAME ON … United hosts Juan de Fuca on Sunday (Feb. 12) at 4 p.m. at Merle Logan Field.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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