By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
September 4, 2013, VICTORIA – University of Victoria Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson enters his 26th season at the helm of the men’s soccer program and will be on the hunt for UVic’s sixth Sam Davidson Memorial Trophy. That journey begins this weekend, Sept. 6 and 8, as the Vikes host the No. 1-ranked UBC Thunderbirds and the Trinity Western Spartans.
Game times are Sept. 6: Vikes vs. UBC (7:15 p.m.), Sept. 8: Vikes vs. TWU (2:15 p.m.) at Centennial Stadium
Highlighting this year’s Vikes roster will be 13 players who were a part of the 2011 CIS championship-winning team.
With the graduation of veterans Wesley Barrett and David Adams, the Vikes will be looking to their four fifth-year starters including goalkeeper Elliot Mitrou and defendersAndrew Ravenhill and Bobby Eng, as well as newly-converted forward Gavin Barrett. Ravenhill and Barrett were the lone Vikes to make the Canada West All-Star list last season, while Mitrou backstopped the Vikes in their 2011 CIS win going first in goals against average in the Canada West (0.67).
Looking down the line, the Vikes men will boast a deep roster of third and fourth year players including the midfield tandem of Craig Taylor, Craig Gorman and Cam Hundal. Gorman and Hundal were pivotal rookies in the 2011-12 season, combining for the majority of the Vikes goals. Hundal was also named the 2011 Canada West and UVic Rookie of the Year.
“In addition to all of our returning veterans our team has had some new players that will see minutes because of how well they have performed in the pre-season,” said Wilson, a two-time CIS Coach of the Year. “We have been training since the beginning of August and our team has shown up fit and not allowed any goals in our pre-season exhibition matches.”
New additions for the Vikes include five-foot-eleven defender Derek Brown who has already made a good appearance for the Vikes in the pre-season. Brown, a produce of the Under-21 Gorge FC program in Victoria, will likely earn valuable minutes on the pitch as his height and speed have proven valuable assets. In addition, Wilson is looking to the youth of Sam Prette, Dominic Colantonio and Paul Dait to add to the dynamics of the squad.
Also making a return to the Vikes is assistant coach Ian Bridge, a long-time team Canada player and coach and former Vikes women’s soccer head coach. Bridge will patrol the sidelines with his former team Canada teammate Wilson for the 2013-14 season.
Last season, UBC powered their way to the top of the Canada West Pacific Division with an 11-0-3 record and went on to win the CIS national championship 1-0 over Cape Breton. The T-Birds garnered the Canada West Player of the Year in Gagandeep Dosanjh, who was also the lone Bird to be named a CIS First Team All-Canadian.
In 2012, the Spartans were not far behind, finishing 9-1-4 in the regular season to grab second seed in the Pacific Division, 11 points ahead of the Vikes. The Spartans finished fourth in the conference Final Six, losing 2-1 to the Saskatchewan Huskies. The Spartans are lead by 2012 Canada West Coach of the Year Pat Rohla, as well as third-year striker Jarvis Ambaka, who tied for third in Canada West scoring.
The Vikes will host the Thunderbirds on Sept. 6 at 7:15 p.m. and the Spartans on Sept. 8 at 2:15 p.m. Both games will be held at Centennial Stadium and will be broadcast live at http://uvic.canadawest.tv . For ticket information visit govikesgo.com/tickets.
- 2012 playoff record: 0-1 lost in first round of Final six
- 2012 CIS Tournament Placing: DNQ
- 2012 Conference record: 6-6-2 (3rd in Pacific)
- Last CW Title: 2009-10
- Last CIS Title: 2011-12
- CIS preseason ranking: not ranked
- CW preseason ranking: 3rd
- Key Returnees: GK Elliot Mitrou, D Andrew Ravenhill, D Bobby Eng, F Gavin Barrett, M Cam Hundal, M Craig Gorman, M Craig Taylor, M Kurt Macaulay
- Key Additions: M Scot Jones, D Derek Brown
- Key Departures: M Wesley Barrett, D David Adams, M Nicholas Mavrikos, F Thomas Mallette