VICTORIA, BC – A quality performance from the visiting UBC Okanagan Heat forced the No. 10 University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team to settle for a 2-2 draw on Sept. 25.
Third-year midfielder Gareth Langdon scored in the 25th minute for the Vikes, while Sam Prette notched the home team’s second goal less than a minute later. Noah Pawlowski made two saves in the game as the Heat out-shot the Vikes 9-8 at Centennial Stadium.
The Heat were led up front by the offensive strengths of Enzo Paal and Luke Warkentin. Paal was the lone second-half goal scorer, tying the game from the spot in the 66th minute, while team mate Brandon McCallum provided the answer to the Vikes’ back-to-back tallies in the first half.
Following 25 minutes of play with few chances it was a five-minute frenzy of goals. The Heat did very well to maintain possession through the opening part of the first half forcing Vikes keeper Pawlowski to challenge a few quick rushes. Despite the good quality passing by UBC Okanagan, it was Victoria that got on the board first.
Following a corner kick play on the left side Dominic Colantonio was able to find Langdon at the top of the 18-yard-box. Unchallenged, Langdon did well to get off a quality shot that beat Heat keeper Tait Cuthill for a 1-0 lead and his second goal of the season.
The Vikes found fortune less than 60 seconds later as Cuthill went to throw a pass forward but hit a UBC Okanagan defender in the back allowing the ball to fall free in the middle of the pitch. Vikes forward Prette easily passed it into the open net for a 2-0 Vikes lead.
UBC Okanagan, who were unlucky not to score before the Vikes’ two goals, cut the lead just four minutes later. In the 30th minute fourth-year defender McCallum charged the left side of the pitch. The six-foot Saskatchewan native was looking for a cross but his hard cross was booked for the near post. Pressure from Heat midfielder Ryan Jerry created a bit of havoc and the ball squirted past Pawlowski to cut the home side’s lead to 2-1. Brandon McCallum’s goal was the first in the fourth year defender’s career.
The Vikes had another quality chance at the 36-minute mark as Craig Gorman fed a quality pass from the left side to Dominic Colantonio just outside the 18-yard-box. Colantonio’s first touch was near perfect, allowing him to use the outside of his right foot and curl the ball just wide of the right post. The score remained 2-1 for Victoria entering half time.
In the second half UBC Okanagan generating some more good, early offence. Paal had a quality chance after a nice cross was fed from the right side by second-half substitute and fifth year Jorden Leib. The Vikes were able to spoil the shot, while just two minutes later the Heat’s Jeevan Kang unleashed an unchallenged shot that was grabbed by the hands of Pawlowski.
In the 65th minute a well-paced ball was placed nicely for the feet of Leib, who had space in the box. Vikes defender Tarnvir Bhandal attempted to challenge shoulder-to-shoulder but didn’t have connection with the ball UBC Okanagan was awarded a penalty kick. Paal finished from the spot, burying his shot into the left side of the mesh and tying the game 2-2. This was Pawlowski’s third-straight weekend facing a penalty kick after allowing goals from the spot on Sept. 12 against UNBC and Sept. 19 against Fraser Valley.
Both teams pushed hard through the latter of the second half but neither team were unable to get on the board. Victoria’s Colantonio had the best chance in the 90th minute from a free kick nearly 40 yards out that forced a diving mid-air save by Cuthill.
The game finished a 2-2 draw, with credit to a quality performance from UBC Okanagan Heat on the home grounds of CIS No. 10 Victoria. The Vikes improve their record to 3-1-2, while the Heat improve to 1-3-1.
The Vikes will host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in their second game of their home double-header on Sept. 26 at 7:15 p.m. at Centennial Stadium. UBC Okanagan head back to the mainland to face off with the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver at 7:00 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live at canadawest.tv.
~ With notes from Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
GAME NOTES: Brandon McCallum’s goal was the first in the fourth year defender’s career….Enzo Paal notched his first of goal of the seeason. Last year he finished with 5 and in the preseason he finished with 5….Manny Straith, a Victoria native, played his first career match in his hometown. Victoria does not have a team in the PACWEST (where UBC Okanagan played for his first 3 years) and he was ineligible to play against UVic in Victoria last season due to an accumulation of yellow cards…..Cuthill has made 26 saves in the Heat’s five games, 26 is the most in Canada West….