VICTORIA — The 2016 Canada West women’s soccer season got off to a positive start for the Victoria Vikes, they were able to hold the reigning national champion UBC Thunderbirds to a scoreless draw at Centennial Stadium on Saturday, September. 3.
“I would have liked three points to be honest with you, but yeah I think that we went out to win the game,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David. “We didn’t back down and we weren’t intimidated. I felt we played really well defensively.”
Fifth-year goalkeeper Meaghan Storie was a big part of that defense for the Vikes. Storie made seven saves in the contest, with her biggest one coming just ten minutes into the contest.
Jasmine Dhanda, the Most Valuable Player at last year CIS national championship, broke away from the UVic defence and came in all-alone on the Vikes goalie. Luckily for the home fans at Centennial, Storie was up to the challenge and made a wonderful diving save to tip Dhanda’s shot away from the goal.
Dhanda was a threat for UBC all game long. Her 5 shots on goal led all players in the contest. David and the Vikes had a plan for how they were going to deal with her offensive prowess coming into the game, and by sticking to that plan they were able to keep her off the sheet.
“She’s an amazing player and if you don’t deal with her she will hurt you,” said David.
The Vikes did much more than just play defensively and try to hold onto a draw though, as the game wound down they looked the more likely of the two teams to score a late game-winning goal.
Five different players registered a shot on goal for the Vikes, and second half substituteRachel Baird came closest to scoring for UVic in the 82nd minute.
“Well I think that we had to make some personnel changes, put some more of our senior players back out there and that helped us get momentum back,” said David, on how her team was able to work it’s way into dangerous positions late.
UBC head coach Jesse Symons was pleased with the effort that he saw from his team in his first game in charge
“It was exciting, playing against a great program like UVic in the first game was a good challenge for us, it gave us a benchmark of where we are at as a team,” said Symons.
The Vikes will now have to refocus, as they host Mount Royal and Grant MacEwan in a pair of games next weekend.
David said that she knows her team still has a lot more work to do as the season progresses.
The Vikes next game is Friday, September. 9 against the Grant MacEwan Griffins at Centennial Stadium in Victoria. Kick-off is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on canadawest.tv.
SCORING 1 2 FINAL
Victoria (0-0-1) 0 0 0
UBC (0-0-1) 0 0 0
UVIC: Meaghan Storie
UBC: Jasmine Dhanda