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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

October 17, 2012, VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team will face steep road competition facing the No. 2-ranked UBC Thunderbirds and No. 8-ranked Trinity Western Spartans on Oct. 19-21.

The Vikes men hold a five-point margin over the Fraser Valley Cascades for the final conference playoff berth for the Pacific Division of the Canada West.

Both the Thunderbirds and Spartans sit atop the Canada West ladder, with UBC holding a 9-0-1 record and Trinity Western boasting a 7-1-2 record. The Vikes have gone 5-0 at home but have a concerning 0-3-2 record on the road. The Vikes undoubtedly face their stiffest competition this weekend, as both games will be against the division’s only nationally ranked teams.

Despite the unfavourable road record, the Vikes have knocked off the top two teams in the Prairie division. The Vikes men defeated the at the time No. 1 ranked Alberta Golden Bears and the Saskatchewan Huskies. The Bears are the only team so far to grab a point off the undefeated T-Birds, after tying them 2-2 on Oct .13.

With the Thunderbirds and Spartans already clinching a Canada West playoff spot, the Vikes will now look to maintain distance ahead of the Fraser Valley Cascades to secure their spot. Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson will largely be looking towards midfielders Craig Gorman and Craig Taylor, who each tally five goals and one assist.

In goal, veteran keeper Elliot Mitrou has posted two shutouts in the season and commanded his backfield to maintain a 1.33 goals-against-average. Captain and central defender David Adams, along with Andrew Ravenhill, Cam Hundal and Gavin Barrett have been consistent starters for the Vikes and will be expected to put in some solid minutes this weekend.

For the Thunderbirds, third-year Gagandeep Dosanjh has been the biggest threat, tallying 11 goals, seven assists in all 10 games played and started. Dosanjh has helped the Birds preserve their undefeated record and was named CIS Athlete of the Week for the period ending Oct. 7. UBC will also look to seasoned players William Hyde, Marco Visintin, Brandon Bonifacio and Navid Mashinchi, who are all very familiar with facing the top of CIS competition.

The Spartans have only conceded one loss to the Prairie Division leaders, the Alberta Golden Bears. Alberta downed Trinity Western in their most recent match up on Oct. 14 by a score of 2-1. Prior to that match, the Spartans were 7-0-1 largely thanks to forward Jarvis Ambaka who has amassed six goals and three assists. The Spartans will also rely heavily on fifth-year striker Spencer Schmidt and midfielder Brayden Gant.

The Vikes will head to the mainland and face UBC on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and then the Spartans on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live at http://canadawest.tv