By Jamie Umbach, Vikes Communications
The University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team entered the 2015-16 season with head coachBruce Wilson returning for his 28th season at the helm of the Vikes program. Recently graduated Vikes defender Alex Redpath joined the coaching staff alongside Wilson as an assistant coach.
Fifth-year Vikes Cam Hundal, Craig Gorman and Dominic Colantonio all entered their final years as Vikes. Goalkeeper Noah Pawlowski returned for his fourth season and first-year Vike Isaac Koch highlighted a new crop of players on the roster.
The Vikes began the season with 10 points out of a possible 12 in their first four games of the season, including a 3-0 victory against the UNBC Timberwolves in front of a sold out crowd at Centennial Stadium for Days of Thunder on Sept. 11. A road trip to Kamloops, B.C. had opposite results when the Vikes drew the UBC Okanagan Heat 0-0 and lost 4-2 to the Thompson Rivers WolfPack. The dropped points by the Vikes helped set up an exciting finish in the standings with teams fighting for the final playoff spots and hosting rights.
The Vikes finished in second place in the Canada West Pacific Division with a record of 6-3-3 after 3-1 and 5-1 wins over the Fraser Valley Cascades and Trinity Western Spartans, respectively, on Oct. 23-24. The wins set up a Canada West playoff matchup with Calgary’s Mount Royal Cougars to book their place in the Final Four in Vancouver, B.C. Four points from 2011 CIS Championship MVP Hundal secured a spot for the Vikes in the Final Four in a dominating 5-0 win over the Cougars on Oct. 30.
A win in the semifinals would book the Vikes a ticket to the CIS Championships hosted by York University in Toronto, Ont. from Nov. 12-15, and that’s exactly what they did by beating Trinity Western 2-1 with goals from second-year forward Michael Baart and fourth-year midfielder Sam Prette. West coast rivals the UBC Thunderbirds were their opponents in the Canada West Final. After Hundal opened the scoring 16 minutes into the game, the T-Birds would come back to force overtime and win their third Canada West championship banner in four years with a 2-1 victory. Cam Hundal was named Canada West Player of the Year and All-Star with eight goals and three assists in his final year as a Vike, including six points in three playoff games.
The Vikes’ bid for the 2015 CIS Men’s Soccer Championship started well through 86 minutes in their quarter-final match against the New Brunswick Varsity Reds, but ultimately ended in disappointing fashion after conceding two late goals to lose 3-2. The Vikes then lost to the McMaster Marauders in the consolation semifinal 2-1, ending the tournament in seventh place. Hundal became the first Vike to win the CIS Player of the Year award and was named a CIS First Team All-Canadian, capping off a fantastic five years with the Vikes alongside fellow veterans Gorman and Colantonio.
Canada West Record: 6-3-3 (2nd, Pacific)
Canada West Final Four: 1-1 (Silver)
CIS Championship Record: 0-2
CIS Championship Place: 7th
Last CIS title: 2011
Last Canada West title: 2009
2015-16 AWARD WINNERS:
Canada West Star of the Week: Sam Prette, Craig Gorman (2), Cam Hundal (3), Keevan Webb
Canada West Player of the Year: Cam Hundal
Canada West First Team All-Stars: Cam Hundal
CIS Player of the Year: Cam Hundal
CIS First Team All-Canadian: Cam Hundal
CIS Fair Play Award: Victoria Vikes