VICTORIA— A 4-0 loss to the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops, B.C., on Sunday sealed a winless opening weekend for the Vikes, their first since the 2011 season that saw them win the CIS banner.
It was just one of those days for the Vikes, one where nothing seemed to go right. Thompson Rivers came out from the opening kick-off and dominated play, scoring the first goal of the game just seven minutes in when Donaldson took a pass from Ryan Glanville and slotted the ball past Vikes goalkeeper Noah Pawlowski.
“It was not a good day for sure,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson, “We did not start this game well at all. In the second half we battled back, but in the end we didn’t score and that’s the way it goes.”
Donaldson, a former Vike, had a game to remember. He added two more goals in the half to record a natural hat trick and send the Vikes into the locker room down by three.
Coming back onto the pitch after the break it was UVic who looked like the stronger team. Unfortunately they couldn’t take advantage of that momentum and Mitchell Popadynetz made the lead 4-0 TRU by poking the ball past Pawlowski during a goalmouth scramble.
Despite the large deficit, the Vikes continued to battle and were only a lucky bounce or two away from finding a way back into the game.
“It’s hard to say that there’s a positive when you lose a game and give up four goals, but honestly I thought we played very well in the second half,” said Wilson. “We gave up one goal but really we should have scored two or three ourselves. So there is something we can take out of it.”
The Vikes two best scoring opportunities of the game came from the penalty spot. Twice in the second half positive attacking play from the Vikes forced Thompson Rivers defenders to commit fouls in the 18-yard box.
Fourth-year midfielder Tarnvir Bhandal took the first one, but his effort was well saved by TRU keeper Claye Harsany.
Just ten minutes later in the 69th minute it was first-year defender Evan Libke‘s turn to take a penalty kick, but his shot ended up sailing harmlessly high and wide.
With zero goals scored in two games now for UVic, Wilson is looking to some players returning from injury as well as a solidified starting line-up to help the Vikes get on the scoresheet.
“We were missing two of our starters this weekend–Isaac Koch, who has already scored a bunch of goals for us and Keevan Webb,” said Wilson. “We have people who can score, it’s a matter of getting a final team down that is ready to play and we will do that.”
One of the biggest lessons things the Vikes can take away from this weekend is that the 2016 Canada West soccer season promises to be one of the toughest yet.
“The quality of the league has improved,” said Wilson. “In B.C. there are no easy games and we certainly found that out this weekend, and now we have to work on a few things in training.”
The Vikes return to action Saturday Sep 9 at 7:15 p.m. when they host the University of the Fraser Valley in the Vikes home-opener at Centennial Stadium. That game will take place as part of the annual ThunderFest festival. For more information visit vikesrec.ca/thunderfest.
SCORING 1 2 FINAL
Victoria (0-2-0) 0 0 0
Thompson Rivers (1-1-0) 3 1 4
TRU: Justin Donaldson (7′, 31′, 43′),
TRU: Justin Donaldson
UVIC: Xavier Araujo