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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

VICTORIA (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s and women’s soccer teams are prepared for their annual spring competition that features the best in the west at the 2012 Keg Spring Cup at Centennial Stadium March 24-25.

On the men’s side, the 2011 CIS national champion team and hosts, the Vikes, will square off against the UBC Thunderbirds, the 2011 Canada West silver medallists, as well as the Trinity Western Spartans and the University of Fraser Valley Cascades.

For the women, the Vikes will face the Alberta Pandas, 2011 CIS fifth place finishers, as well as the Trinity Western Spartans and the UBC Thunderbirds.

The Vikes men are coming off a season high after winning the 2011 CIS national championships on home soil after going 3-0 against Montreal, Cape Breton and Saint Mary’s. The 2011 season saw several honoured including long-time head coach Bruce Wilson being named the Canada West coach of the year. Most recently, the Vikes played an exhibition friendly in the first-ever Canadian Interuniversity Sport and Major League Soccer match up. The Vikes only lost 2-1 to a very experienced side.

The UVic men will be without certain veteran players this weekend including midfielders Miguel Romeo and Corey Sanford, as well as goalkeeper Daniel Kilpatrick. They will, however, have 2011 CIS second team all-star Elliot Mitrou behind the pipes, as well as third-year midfielder-turned-defender Gavin Barrett. Canada West rookie of the year and CIS Tournament MVP Cam Hundal will also be on hand along side scoring partner and rookie Craig Gorman.

The UVic women are coming off of a 7-4-3 record throughout their 2011 Canada West season. The Vikes were knocked out in the first round of playoffs when home turf advantage suited the Trinity Western Spartans and their 3-0 victory. Early in the season, the Vikes were forced to compete without sole fifth-year and veteran midfielder Sarah Clark, allowing several others the chance to step up. Fourth-year net-minder Stephanie Parker was brilliant all season in goal with a 83.5 save percentage.

The Vikes also have national team presence in midfielder Jaclyn Sawicki, a 2011 CIS second team All-Canadian who recently returned from the Under-20 CONCACAF Championship in Panama after helping the Canadians qualify for the 2012 Under-20 World Cup to be held in Japan. The Vikes will also be leaning heavily on midfielder Lindsay Hoetzel, defenders Jacqueline Harrison and Brigitte Greig, as well as Canada West second team All-star and rookie Amy Lawrence.

The two-day tournament will kickoff with the women at 10 a.m. and alternate games with the men until the Vikes women face UBC at 2 p.m. and the men face Fraser Valley at 4 p.m. All games will be held at Centennial Stadium.

Saturday March 24
10 a.m. – WOMEN – Alberta vs. Trinity Western
12 p.m. – MEN – UBC vs. Trinity Western
2 p.m. – WOMEN – UVic vs. UBC
4 p.m. – MEN – UVic vs. Fraser Valley

Sunday March 25
10 a.m. – WOMEN – Third-Place Game
12 p.m. – MEN – Third Place Game
2 p.m. – WOMEN – Final
4 p.m. – MEN – Final