VICTORIA – Fifth year Stephanie Badilla Gutierrez‘s corner kick strike was the difference as the University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team dropped the UBC Okanagan Head 1-0 on Sept. 23. The Vikes improve their record to 4-1-1, trailing just UBC in the Pacific Division standings, while UBC Okanagan drop to 0-4-1.
The victory marks just the second shutout for third-year Vikes keeper Puck Louwes, following the team’s home-opening 1-0 win over UBC on Sept. 2. The Vikes out-shot the Heat 7-4 and didn’t allow any corner kicks.
“I don’t think we were ever out of control but there were some tense moments at the end of the game and we gave a free kick away here and there,” said Tracy David, Vikes women’s soccer head coach about the momentum in the game. “Their wide left player Ally Ferronato was outstanding for them and she basically was a handful for us on the right side.”
The Vikes were the first to lay on the pressure as Kiara Kilbey‘s shot in the fourth minute of play was denied by UBC Okanagan defender Emma Nelsen. The Vikes had an open look in the 10th minute when the ball was cut back to the top of the box to a wide open Rachel Baird. Baird’s one-timer sailed high over the cross bar but was a sign of what was to come for the visitors.
Badilla Gutierrez was called up to her specialty multiple times delivering on four corner kicks. The UBC Okanagan turf lends well as it is three yards narrower. In the 31st minute the Social Sciences major curled the ball from the left corner flag and straight in for a 1-0 Victoria lead.
“I thought Steph had a really good game for us and was so good in the centre of the park,” added David about the Vikes goal scorer. “We were on (artificial) turf and it was bounce and hard. I thought with her technical abilities she changed the game for us. She is one of the best at bringing the ball down, running at people and making passes on the run.”
The Vikes held on to their 1-0 lead through the remainder of the 90-minute game when UBC Okanagan keeper Francesca Balleta and Badilla Gutierrez were named the game’s Most Valuable Players.
“UBC Okanagan is very good at putting bodies around the ball and then always look to double you,” said David. “I think we made changes at the half and sometimes they work well and sometimes it’s hard for those people coming out to keep the momentum. UBC Okanagan was well organized so we didn’t generate a lot today but we will have to concentrate on that tomorrow.”
The Vikes head straight to Kamloops to prepare for a game against Thompson Rivers, Sept. 24 at 12:00 p.m.
“We have to be ready to play tomorrow and we are on their home turf,” said David about heading to Thompson Rivers. “They lost to UBC today so they will definitely be looking to rectify that situation.”