By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – After a slow start to the season, the University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team will try to reverse their fortunes when they return to Centennial Stadium this weekend, Sept. 18-19, for match ups with the UNBC Timberwolves and the Alberta Pandas. Both games are set to kick-off at 5 p.m. at Victoria’s Centennial Stadium.
The Vikes took a point on the road thanks to a 0-0 draw with the Fraser Valley Cascades this past Friday, Sept. 11 before losing 3-1 to the CIS No. 4-ranked Trinity Western Spartans on Sept. 11. The Vikes are now at an overall Canada West record of 0-2-1. Fifth-year Vikes forward Emma Greig added the only goal of the weekend and the first of the season for the Vikes in the loss to the Spartans.
The Timberwolves have not fared much better than the Vikes to begin the 2015-16 Canada West season, sitting at 0-1-1 through their first two games with only one goal scored and four goals conceded. UNBC drew their season opener 1-1 with UBC Okanagan Heat on Sept. 11 before dropping a 3-0 decision to the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Sept. 13.
This weekend’s contests at Centennial Stadium presents the opportunity for the Vikes to get into the win column for the first time after a trio of tough season-opening games.
“We’ve played some good teams that are no slouches and traditionally have been the best teams in Canada West,” said Vikes women’s soccer head coach Tracy David of her team’s opening three matches against UBC, Fraser Valley and Trinity Western. “That three-game stretch was always going to be difficult. This weekend is all hands on deck for us at the moment and an opportunity for us to play and attack well in numbers.”
The Vikes have had the better of the results between the two sides recently with 5-0 and 6-1 victories last season over the Timberwolves. Vikes forward Emma Greig added four goals and an assist in last season’s victories.
For David, who enters her 14th season as head coach, it’s a combination of finding the right balance in the team to compliment the entire line-up and providing Greig with the support she needs to be a constant threat to her opponents.
“Our team wasn’t with her and she was isolated,” said David. “We can’t have isolated strikers in attacking areas because there’s not much they can do. We have to see if we can give her more support than what we have been doing.”
“We still haven’t found the right combination of players for us in the central midfield. Every player we have there brings different things to the table. It’s a matter of finding out how best they compliment each other.”
Meanwhile, the Pandas have managed to take four out of a possible six points to begin their 2015-16 season with a 2-1 win over UBC Okanagan and a 2-2 draw against Thompson Rivers. The most recent meeting between the Vikes and Pandas came in last season’s Keg Spring Cup on Mar. 21, whereEmma Greig had the lone goal in a Vikes 1-0 win.
David is no stranger to the University of Alberta after having coached the Pandas for 16 seasons from 1985-2000, winning two CIS titles in 1989 and 1997 and CIS Coach of the Year in 1989 in the process.
“They’re traditionally the top team in the prairies. That’s a top team we’ll be facing who’s tough to get points off of,” said David. “We can bring our work ethic to the table and we’re going to have to rely on it against a team like the University of Alberta.”
Both of this weekend’s games kick off at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18 and Saturday, Sept. 19 from Centennial Stadium. If you can’t catch the game in person, all games are broadcasted live on canadawest.TV.