By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team will have double-duty this weekend, Oct. 4-5, hosting both the Lethbridge Pronghorns and Calgary Dinos in Canada West action at Centennial Stadium.
The Vikes, who are coming off a single-header win last weekend over Fraser Valley, are currently 4-2-0 in the conference, while the Dinos are 5-1-1 and the Horns are 0-5-2.
Rain and a lot of standing water kept the Vikes off their stadium grass pitch this past weekend but the Vikes took to the artificial turf in good fashion, defeating the Fraser Valley Cascades 2-0 on Sept. 28. Veteran midfielders Lindsay Hoetzel and Jaclyn Sawicki notched a goal each in the soggy match up that may end up being good preparation for this weekend’s double header.
“Not knowing what pitch we are on this weekend is definitely a huge distraction at the moment,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David. “It is definitely a major concern as we have to train on turf this week and we are hoping to get back on our grass field this weekend.”
The Vikes are undoubtedly led by central midfielder Jacqueline Harrison, who has played every minute of the Vikes’ six opening games and has tallied three goals. Sawicki is close behind with two goals and an assist while also logging all 540 minutes of Vikes play. The Vikes boast a deep bench in returning players Cassie Dennis, Emma andBrigitte Greig, Carly Branion-Calles and Mallory Hackett. Meanwhile, rookies Elise Butler and Natasha Magnus have been more than impressive in their Vikes debut, each getting on the board for assists.
Fifth-year keeper Tanya Jones boasts a 0.667 save percentage on 44 shots faced in the Vikes’ 4-2-0 campaign.
Lethbridge, currently 12th in the standings, are struggling to find their first three points of the season despite very close goal margins in their first seven games. The Horns have only two goals to their name coming from second-year Emily Felker and third-year Kim Shellenberg. Goakeeping duties have been split between three keepers but primary statistics have favoured rookie Myriah Marino who has a save percentage of 0.735.
Calgary were recently handed their first loss by Saskatchewan this past weekend after opening the season with a six-game undefeated streak. The Huskies toppled the Dinos 4-1 on Sept. 29. Third-year Ann Stranges was the lone Calgary goal scorer, notching her fourth of the season. The Dinos are also led by senior striker Tessa Miller who is second in the Canada West for points with five goals and eight assists. Rookie Jordan Smith is close behind with six goals and two assists.
“Calgary has had a coaching change and [Troye Flannery] has brought back a number of players who left previously,” added David. “They are a speedy team team that have been scoring a lot of goals. We have a strong back line that will have to neutralize that threat and ensure we always have cover.”
The Vikes will host Lethbridge on Oct. 4 and Calgary on Oct. 5. Both games will take place at 5 p.m. and are scheduled to be held at UVic’s Centennial Stadium, weather permitting. Heavy rain fall may require the games to be moved to the all-weather turf Field 2 in the same complex. Both games will be broadcast on http://canadawest.tv