VICTORIA – A goal in the 75th minute of play was all that separated the UVic Vikes men’s soccer team and the visiting UBC Okanagan Heat in tightly-contested Vikes win on Oct. 13 at Centennial Stadium.
“I thought we deserved the win, we could have scored one or two more goals,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson. “It was a good goal by Austin and we will take the points. Overall we are happy with the result and ready to focus on tomorrow.”
Fourth-year Vike Austin Schneebeli scored the game-winning goal as the normally defensive-minded midfielder snapped Mitch McCaw’s 685 minute-long shutout streak in the Heat net.
“I saw that it was coming across right to left, so I just touched it to the side and hit it with my left foot,” said Schneebeli. “It’s the best feeling, I don’t remember the last time I scored a goal so it’s a good day.”
The result moves the Vikes to 5-6-1 on the year while the Heat drop to 5-4-3. With just three games left on their schedules, both teams are in what is sure to be a close battle for one of the three remaining playoff spots in the Pacific Division of Canada West soccer.
The game was a back-and-forth affair with the Heat registering five shots on net to the Vikes 13. McCaw was brilliant yet again in the Heat net, making six saves in the losing effort. Max Branyik-Gil picked up his second straight win and first shutout of the season for the Vikes.
With momentum swinging side-to-side throughout the first half, the Vikes had the best chance to score in the 40th minute when Isaac Koch received a beautiful pass from Tarnvir Bhandal, beat his defender to break in all alone on McCaw but saw his shot ring off the crossbar.
When the goal finally came in the 75th minute of play it was the result of some sustained Vikes pressure.
A Heat clearing attempt only made it as far as Schneebeli, who settled the ball down and then curled in a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box that evaded a sprawling McCaw.
The Heat had their best moments of the game after the Vikes goal.
Led by the strong play of Hamish Walde and Cole Kingzett, UBCO sent in cross after cross into the Vikes penalty area, but a combination of sure hands from Branyik-Gil and some strong defending kept the team from Kelowna off the scoreboard.
Both of these teams will continue their playoff push tomorrow.