Vikes earn valuable point with scoreless draw against Alberta

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EDMONTON – The University of Victoria Vikes continued their trend of stifling potent offenses with tight defensive play on Friday night, shutting out the host Alberta Pandas in a scoreless draw at Foote Field in Edmonton.

With the draw, the Pandas remain undefeated, sporting a 3-0-2 record in 2016. Victoria, meanwhile, earned their third draw of the season, moving to 2-1-3.

“Alberta was really aggressive—they came at us and they won the first ball and second ball,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David. “We’re still trying to find our rhythm—I changed the formation today and it’s a work in progress.”

Cazzie Bazzarelli stopped the only shot she faced to earn her conference-leading fifth clean sheet, while Meaghan Storie made four saves for her fourth shutout in six conference matches.

Entering play, the Pandas had yet to allow a goal though four conference games, while allowing only six shots on target. That stingy play carried over into Friday night’s match, as they allowed only five shots through 90 minutes, with only one shot on target.

The Vikes, on the other hand, have put together four clean sheets on the season, all of which have come from veteran Meghan Storie. Storie was spectacular again on Friday night.

“Meghan was outstanding tonight,” said David. “I thought she was really, really solid in the back for us with no mistakes and her punting was great—she’s an experienced keeper.”

Alberta garnered the first scoring chance in the 18th minute, but Anna Dunn’s bullet-shot from distance beat a diving Storie, but sailed harmlessly past the Victoria net. The Pandas would hold on to possession of the ball for a majority of the first half, but were unable to put a ball on target in the opening 45.

Third-year Pandas striker Sydney Daines had arguably the best chance all night, but her 32nd minute strike ripped off the crossbar, before ricocheting out of trouble. Storie got a piece of the shot to keep her shutout alive as the Vikes continued to frustrate Alberta.

Neither team was able to amount any offence throughout the following 30 minutes of action, with the first shot on target occurring in the 55th minute.  Sophomore striker Aly Parth, who scored her first goal of the season the previous weekend, had a great look on goal in the 72nd minute, but her left-footed strike from the 19 yard mark found the waiting arms of Storie.

Victoria, who had scored only four goals entering Friday’s tilt, were unable to amount any sustained pressure, with their five corner kicks all failing to result in a goal. Despite the home side outshooting UVic 18-5, neither team would find the back of the net.

“We fought and we fought and we fought to the end,” said David. “Our goaltender was spectacular and our back four was spectacular.”

Following the draw, Victoria will stay on the road, as they travel to Prince George to battle with the UNBC Timberwolves on Sunday. Alberta, meanwhile, will stay at home, as they host the CIS No. 7 UBC Thunderbirds at 12:00 p.m. Sunday at Foote Field.

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