By Kevin Laidman,
(ISN) – VANCOUVER, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s field hockey team lost out, 5-3, in a tight battle with mainland rivals UBC Thunderbirds on a soggy Saturday, Oct. 26. Three different scorers found the back of the net for the young Vikes, who remain winless in the Vancouver Premier League with a 0-5 record.
Victoria got off to another fast start, with a couple of early chances. After a deflected Vikes shot resulted in a scramble in front of UBC’s goal, third year Connor Martin was able to put the ball away for a 1-0 Vikes lead after five minutes of play.
The teams exchanged chances but it was UBC who struck next. UBC earned a penalty stroke off of a penalty corner set piece. The stroke was successfully converted to tie the game 1-1 after 18 minutes.
UBC had a slight advantage in possession for the rest of the first half, but the Vikes defence stood tall, and created opportunities on the counter attack. In the 30th minute, on another T-Birds penalty corner, second-year keeper Toby Owen saved the initial strike but the rebound was buried for UBC to take a 2-1 lead.
The Vikes were quick to respond, earning a penalty corner with one minute to go in the first half. The Vikes executed an set play to fourth year Brenden Bissett whose shot was expertly tipped into the top corner by forward Alex Smith. Smith’s goal, his second of the season tied the game 2-2 and offered his team some momentum going into the second half.
UBC earned an early second-half penalty corner that again Owen was up to the task for but the relentless Thunderbirds were able to score on the rebound to go up 3-2.
After a 10 minute back-and-forth period the Vikes came from behind again to tie the game 3-3. Bissett dribbled through a crowd of UBC defenders, drew another defender and the goalie out of position with a fake shot. Finding his composure, Bissett slotted the ball to a waiting Robert Rand at the far post for a tap in goal at the 47 minute-mark.
As the heavy rain fall continued to slow the pitch down, teams were unable to find much rhythm in their game. UBC continued to hold a slight edge in possession, while the Vikes mostly creating chances on the counter attack. In the 58th minute, former Vike and now Team Canada and UBC standout Matthew Sarmento created some open space in the Vikes’ circle. Sarmento picked a corner past Owen to give UBC the 4-3 lead late in the game.
The Vikes pushed up in an attempt to tie the game, and were narrowly denied on two opportunities, first by Tyler Klenk, and another by Smith. With numbers committed forward the Vikes were exposed at the back and gave up a counter-attack goal with three minutes to go. Down 5-3, the Vikes continued to pressure, but were unable to capitalize despite a hard battle and 70-minute effort from all players.
Up next the Vikes will prepare to play the United Brothers FHC on Nov. 2 at 1:30 p.m. at Tamanawis Park in Surrey, B.C.
UBC: 2 – 3 : 5
UVIC: 2 – 1 : 3
UBC: PS (18′), PC (30′), PC (37′), FG (58′), FG (67′)
UVIC: Connor Martin (5′), Alex Smith (34′), Robert Rand (47′)