Sept 20,2014(ISN) – KELOWNA, B.C. – For the first time on home turf the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer team tasted defeat as the Victoria Vikes punched out a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Squad on Friday evening.
UBC Okanagan were unable to Out to continue an uphill climb of the Canada West standings, the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s soccer team ran into a Victoria Vikes wall in a 2-1 defeat on their home turf Friday night.
It was a pair of rookies stealing the spotlight tonight as Victoria’s Michael Baart would get on the board first just fifteen minutes into the match for an early 1-0 lead. The Heat’s Cole Kingzett (Penticton, BC) would have the last say in the match in the 70th minute to give the home fans hope for the final minutes of the contest. The Vikes’ Craig Gorman and the Heat’s Robert Hamilton collected the assists.
An unfortunate series of miscommunications on the defensive end would result in an own goal five short minutes into the second half that would give the Vikes the cushion they needed to stave off the late rally by the Heat.
“I saw the play building up [in the middle] and their back line looked a little switched off, they weren’t tracking me, so I just made the run across and I got in behind them, and slotted it past the keeper,” said Kingzett postgame, describing his excellent play for his third goal of the season and of his short career in Heat uniform.
Second-year forward Enzo Paal was a dominant force in the Heat offense, and came very close to knotting things up in the 81st minute when he sent a bullet just over the crossbar from 25 yards out.
UBC Okanagan head coach Dante Zanatta was not upset about his team’s performance, but admitted that his guys lacked the same energy and enthusiasm from previous games. “I don’t think anyone can look in the mirror and say, ‘This was my best game today,'” he said postgame. “For us, week in and week out, everyone has to play at the right level. We’ll regroup.”
Victoria’s relentless attack on the wings was problematic for the Heat’s backline. Still, second-year Heat keeper Christopher Cuthill (Delta, BC) was in turn a veritable wall in front of a Vikes squad that could have sealed the deal multiple times in the second half but couldn’t find the room to finish.
The midfield was a constant battleground between both teams, with neither ever gaining complete control of the centre of the turf. The Vikes were much more cohesive unit on the offensive end, however, compared to a Heat squad often looking for answers for the Victoria defense.
“UVic goes to the national championship year after year, and you can see why [because] they’re a good squad,” Zanatta went on to add, giving credit and praise to his team’s Canada West seniors.
The Vikes head to Kamloops Saturday night for a date with the Thompson Rivers WolfPack behind a 2-1-0 record. Even with the loss UBC Okanagan has sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division of Canada West and are now 3-2-0. Next up will be the first ever match against the No. 1 UBC Thunderbirds in a highly anticipated contest between the sister schools. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on the Nonis Sports Field.
Heat notes: Zanatta has given ample minutes to his cast of recruited rookies, with two of them seeing regular starters minutes. On Cole, Zanatta would comment the following: “I’m a firm believer [in] … if they’re good enough, they’re old enough is the model. He still has a lot of the game to learn … but he has a lot of special abilities … that’s why we recruited him. Going forward he’s done well and put himself in position to get goals. Tonight, on a breakaway, most young guys would panic but he showed composure and got the goal.”