Vikes men toppled by T-Birds in ThunderFest home opener

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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

September 6, 2013, VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team were served a tough blow, losing 4-1 to the country’s No. 1 seed, the UBC Thunderbirds, Friday night at Centennial Stadium.

Three different T-birds tallied their first goal of the 2013 Canada West season as the Thunderbirds advance with a 1-0 record, while the Vikes drop 0-1.

The T-Birds scored three goals in 48 minutes of play as Milad Mehrabi and Paul Clerc earned the first-half goals, while in the second half Niall Cousens and an own goal were the game toppers. UBC keeper Richard Meister and Chris Beck split the net-minding duties, with Beck conceding Victoria’s lone goal.

Third-year midfielder Craig Gorman became the first goal scorer for the Vikes this season as his left footed corner-kick went straight into the net in the 85th minute of play. Gorman’s goal was followed by several rushes from Cam Hundal, named the Vikes’ game MVP, as well as a long-range shot by Gavin Barrett that hit the post but neither were able to convert.

“It’s not the result we wanted that’s for sure,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson. “We lost 4-1 but we never stopped and it was fairly equal in shots and corners. We had seven or eight 100 per cent goal chances that we should have scored on and that made the difference.”

Western rivalry was in full action in the opening minute of play as Vikes midfielder Cam Stokes was in UBC territory early and launched one just wide of the net. UBC followed with a wave of pressure that allowed third-year Harry Lakhan to send a nifty heel pass to a streaking Mehrabi who put the Birds on the board in the 11th minute.

The Vikes responded with some midfield attack but the No. 1-ranked T-Birds were back in the other end with back-to-back chances. Fifth-year Vikes keeper Mitrou was up to the task on Reynold Stewart’s open shot in the 26th minute, while defender Toshi Hayashi was called to action to block an open-net chance only minutes later. UBC’s Clerc gave the birds the 2-0 advance after finishing an uncontested header off a Navid Mashinchi corner kick.

UBC continued to dominate in attack despite a late opportunity for the Vikes when Stokes found some room on the right side. Stokes served a long ball over the Birds’ defence line but Hundal was just a step behind and his shot went wide of the net. Just after, Mitrou was called to action on what looked like a clear header chance for Mashinchi but the save kept the Birds at bay. UBC entered the break with a 2-0 cushion.

Striker and new addition Cousens wasted no time giving the T-Birds a three-goal cushion after being the first to the ball on a Stewart cross. The Thunderbirds continued to dominate in offensive pressure and possession, while senior defenders Gavin Barrett, Bobby Eng and Hayashi battled to work the ball the other way. In the 59th minute, UBC’s Einarsson scored the fourth tally for the visitors after he chipped a ball in to the box that deflected off Toshi Hayashi and floated over Mitrou, advancing the T-Birds 4-0.

The Vikes found their energy in the latter part of the game, testing the T-Birds keeper in a number of opportunities. Gorman broke the shutout in the 85th minute finishing directly off a corner kick with his left foot to leave the Vikes trailing 4-1. The Vikes poured on the attack in the final minutes of play including Gavin Barrett ringing one off the post from over 50 yards out.

“We capitalized on our chances early on – two in the first and an early goal in the second,” commented Mike Mosher, head coach of the T-Birds. “After 48 minutes we were up 3-0 and we really took our chances. Goals change games and that happened for us today.”

The UBC Thunderbirds proved their dominance, grabbing the 4-1 final score and advancing to a 1-0 record after their opening Canada West match up. Both teams will turn around to host on Sept. 8 as the Birds will entertain the Fraser Valley Cascades at 2:00 p.m., while the Vikes will host the Trinity Western Spartans at 2:15 p.m. Both games will be streamed live at http://canadawest.tv

SCORING SUMMARY

UVIC: 0 – 1 : 1

UBC: 2 -2 : 4

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