Vikes fall for first time this season, lose by three to Fraser Valley

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VICTORIA—The Vikes women’s soccer team has finally tasted defeat after losing their first game of the season against the Fraser Valley Cascades in Abbotsford, Sep. 17.

After either winning or drawing the first four games on their schedule, the Vikes were downed 3-0 by Fraser Valley.

“Credit to Fraser Valley they were tougher, more aggressive and had better finishing than us today. We just didn’t respond,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David.

Sophomore striker Gurneet Dhaliwal scored twice in the first half – her third and fourth goals of the campaign – and rookie Simi Lehal notched her first career Canada West goal after the break. Monika Levarsky sparkled as a playmaker, picking up assists on all three Cascades goals, and keeper Kayla Klim made three saves en route to her second shutout of the season.

The result enabled UFV to move into a tie with the previously undefeated Vikes for second in the Pacific Division – both teams are 2-1-2.

“At the half, I told the girls we were up 2-0 and asked them if I needed to say anything more, and they said nope – they knew what they had to do,” Cascades head coach Rob Giesbrecht said afterward, reflecting on his team’s improved play with the lead on Saturday.

“Even with that, we came out a bit slugglish in the second half – it took us about five or 10 minutes before we got our foot on the ball a little bit more and started linking some passes. Once we got that third goal, we cruised in.”

Vikes keeper Meaghan Storie hadn’t allowed a goal in three previous starts this season, but the Cascades got to her in the 24th minute. Levarsky had the ball in the corner with two Vikes defenders closing in, but she made a sweet move along the goal line to get loose and slipped a slick pass to Dhaliwal, and she made no mistake, hammering the ball home from just above the penalty spot.

Dhaliwal struck again in the 38th minute, poking the ball home on a scramble in the box.

Lehal put the game out of reach in the 64th, with Levarsky once again the provider. The third-year forward fought off two Vikes defenders to slide the ball into the path of an on-rushing Lehal, and her first touch was a low shot into the back of the net.

It was the second game in a row that the Vikes were shutout. They went scoreless on the weekend against two very strong teams in the Cascades and the Trinity Western Spartans, and David feels as though missing two key players from her lineup due to injury hindered the team’s performance against the Cascades.

“We’ve lost Caitlin Millham. She’s a starter for us, she gets out wide and causes trouble for our opposition. Emily Lieuwen was also out of the lineup with an injury she picked up the night earlier against Trinity Western. We lost a lot of domination, she wins balls in the air and is our anchor in the midfield,” said David.

The Vikes will stay on the road next weekend. They travel to Alberta to play the Pandas September 23 and then make their way back to British Columbia to play the UNBC Timberwolves September 25.

SCORING                                           1     2     FINAL
Victoria (2-1-2)                                    0     0     0
Fraser Valley (2-1-2)                           2     1    3

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