At halftime of Cowichan United’s first Div. 2 women’s soccer game of 2022 — against Nanaimo United at Merle Logan Turf last Friday — coach Adam Paulson told the team they needed someone to have a moment of brilliance in order to secure the three points.
Madison Szafranski heard that plea and answered.
Midway through the second half, Szafranski took a pass from Madison Jack and beat three Nanaimo players before cracking a shot from the top of the 18-yard box into the corner of the net. That was all the offence Cowichan would get in the game, and all they would need, in a 1-0 victory. Paulson switched to a more defence-oriented formation after that and the team held on.
“I thought we looked very rusty, as we were only able to get in one practice over the break,” Paulson commented. “That being said, with some missing players, I asked more from some of our players that were at the game. I was particularly impressed with the games from Dennene Wallace, Caitlin Burdet, Kristina Biello and Madison Szafranski. Szafranski was everywhere on the pitch and the goal she scored was well deserved.”
Nanaimo got off to a good start in the match, creating the first chance of the night with a shot that clipped the top of the crossbar. The hosts clogged up the middle of the field to limit Cowichan’s scoring chances, and the strategy worked for the most part; Jada Hill had Cowichan’s best opportunity when she received a through-ball and broke in on Nanaimo’s goalie. Hill pushed the ball around the keeper but couldn’t redirect the ball before it dribbled over the end line.
Nanaimo had several long-distance shots that were of little concern for Cowichan keeper Kate Collins. Wallace had the last chance of the first half, but her shot was blocked by a Nanaimo defender. Nanaimo had the first chance of the second half, but Celia Burdet came up with a last-second block to keep the game scoreless.
Cowichan United will return home for their next game, playing host to Fernwood City this Sunday at noon on the Sherman Road turf.
The O30 Cowichan Cougars kept their undefeated season alive with a 4-2 win at home over Prospect Lake last Friday.
“It was a hard-fought game with lots of tough tackles,” noted Courtenay McGeachy, who filled in on the bench while coach Darian Achurch was away playing for the Cowichan 49ers. “This was a big game for us after not playing a match in over a month.”
The teams traded chances and both goalies made big saves before Jenna Waddy opened the scoring for Cowichan. Prospect drew even just after halftime. It was 1-1 until the last 20 minutes of the match when Prospect’s goalie crashed into Ashley Stultz, earning a penalty shot that Stacey de Lusignan converted. Prospect missed on their own penalty shot a few moments later, and Waddy scored her second of the game to put the Cougars ahead by two. Prospect answered back with eight minutes left and started pushing for a tie, but Cowichan keeper Sarah Tweten came up with some heroic stops. Waddy completed her hat trick in the final minute of the game.
“It was a great game and Prospect are fun to play against,” Waddy commented. “Our games are always close and come down to the wire.”
The Cougars are still trying to make up for missing games due to their midseason promotion. They play Prospect Lake in Victoria this Friday.