By: James Nielsen, Vikes Communications
(ISN) – VICTORIA – Featuring an abundance of young talent, the University of Victoria Vikes (7-1-3) men’s soccer team faced CIS No. 2-ranked UBC Thunderbirds (9-2), Oct. 17 at Centennial Stadium. The Vikes battled hard to keep the game within reach before striking twice late to upset the defending national champions.
Dominic Colantonio earned a brace for Victoria, scoring a penalty kick in the 84th minute before notching the game winner in the 90th minute of play. Vikes goalkeeper Cole Tamburri collected the victory in his first-ever CIS match.
Jules Chopin opened the scoring in the match in the 44th minute of play for the Thunderbirds and led his team in shots through ninety minutes, while goalkeeper Luke O’Shea moved to 1-2 this season.
The visitors held the edge in both possession and chances in the opening half, with several opportunities to move ahead in the match coming off the foot of fourth-year midfielder Milad Mehrabi. The Coquitlam native’s opening chance was his closest of the game, striking a hard shot off the crossbar at the 10-minute-mark.
Mehrabi would receive a second opportunity midway through the half, working inside his defensive mark before sending a low shot across the mouth of the goal and wide right.
It was Mehrabi’s teammate Chopin who would eventually net a goal for the visitors however, as the midfielder received a wonderful through-ball from teammate Niall Cousens inside the attacking zone in the final minute of the opening half. Moving at full-pace, the third-year T-Bird received the ball well, striking it past ‘keeper Tamburri to give the T-Birds a 1-0 lead heading into the final half of play.
For the home side, Vikes rookie striker Justin Donaldson-Andrade showed his potential on offence throughout the match, using his speed and agility to put pressure his defender with several notable rushes.
Showing urgency as the second half got underway, the Vikes featured an increased amount of possession, while the T-Birds seemed content to sit back on defence, limiting their advances into the attacking third.
With time winding down, the Vikes looked to be heading towards their second defeat of the season until they were awarded a penalty kick in the 84th minute. Vikes defender Rhyse Harnden was pulled down inside the box, allowing Colantonio to step up to take a penalty kick. Colantonio made no mistake, striking the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal to beat ‘keeper O’Shea, who guessed correctly but was unable to get a touch on the ball.
The Vikes weren’t finished there, as a last-minute rush from Donaldson up the left side of the field found Colantonio at the top of the 18-yard-box with a timely cross. Colantonio then slotted home the go-ahead goal in the 90th minute of play to shock the visitors and secure a home playoff date next weekend.
Both teams wrap up their regular season on Saturday, Oct. 18, with the UBC Thunderbirds returning home to host Trinity Western University Spartans at Thunderbird Stadium at 2:00 p.m., while the Vikes close out their regular season against the UFV Cascades, 7:15 at Centennial Stadium.