VICTORIA—The Vikes women’s soccer team will head into the regular season with one loss from their four pre-season games after falling by a score of 2-1 to the visiting Western Washington University Vikings on Aug. 26 at Centennial Stadium.
Vikes head coach Tracy David was able to see both some positives and some areas to improve after the match.
“I thought we played well enough for a draw. We’ve got to figure some things out for sure, because our attack is too disjointed right now. It’s going to take a little bit of time,” said David.
The game began with Western Washington controlling possession and the veteran defence of the Vikes was put to the test almost immediately. Fifth-year defender Lindsay Machin was equal to the task however, and her strong leadership at the back allowed Victoria to withstand wave after wave of Vikings attack.
Even though Western Washington had more possession it was the Vikes who found themselves on the scoreboard first, just 15 minutes into the game.
Intercepting an errant Western Washington pass and quickly transitioning to the attack, the Vikes played a dangerous ball into the 18-yard box that the defenders were unable to deal with. The ball eventually found it’s way onto the foot of Caitlin Millham who made no mistake, slotting the ball into the open net for her second goal of the pre-season.
Western Washington just kept coming however, and they were rewarded with a goal of their own 35 minutes into the game. Offensive pressure resulted in a beautifully whipped-in corner kick from Emily Webster that Jordyn Bartelson nodded into the open net to tie the game.
Despite giving up the goal, David was pleased with the way that her defence was able to bend but not break even though they were under pressure for most of the opening 45 minutes.
“I knew that when there was no pressure on the ball that they (WWU) would be quite direct. Our back four were ready for that before the game started. I thought we did a good job of absorbing the pressure so I was happy with that part of the game,” said David.
After halftime the script was flipped. It was now the Vikes turn to control the flow of the game as they repeatedly advanced the ball into dangerous positions deep in the Western Washington half.
Just like the first half though, it was the team on their heels that managed to find the back of the net.
Lindsey Fujiwara of Western Washington found herself in just a little bit of space at the edge of the 18 yard-box and she unleashed a shot that Vikes goalkeeper Puck Louwes had no chance to stop. The ball struck the underside of the crossbar before bouncing across the goal line.
From then on the game was a one-sided affair. The Vikes threw everything they could at the opposing net, but the WWU defence refused to give them any room.
“We generated chances at the end of the game, the last 20 minutes in terms of our attack was probably the best,” said David
For the Vikes, the final whistle signalled the end of their pre-season, but for David and her team the work has just begun.
“Pre-season has gone very, very quick. We have to play the defending national champions next week and we have a lot of work to do.”
UVIC: 1 – 0 : 1
WWU: 1 – 1 : 2
UVIC: Caitlin Milham (15′)
WWU: Jordyn Bartelson (35’), Lindsey Fujiwara (61’)