Vikes qualify for Final Four

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VICTORIA – The UVic Vikes women’s soccer team scored a goal early and then weathered a fearsome Calgary Dinos attack to pick up a 1-0 victory inside Centennial Stadium on Oct. 28. With the victory, the Vikes qualify for the Canada West Final Four tournament that will be held in Langley, B.C. from Nov. 3-5.

 


“We were hungry, aggressive and going for the win,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David on her team’s first half performance. “We knew what this game meant and that’s how we played.”

The loss ends the season for a Dinos team that came close on multiple occasions to levelling the score as they put the pressure on in the second half.

“We are really young and these kids can play,” said Dinos head coach Troye Flannery. “We aren’t going away quietly, we will be around for the next few years with this same team.”

Fourth-year Vike Caitlin Millham scored the only goal of the game while Kiara Kilbey picked up an assist for her tenth point of the season.

Puck Louwes was named MVP of the match in the Vikes net as she made three saves to record her 11th shutout on the year. Lauren Houghton was strong in net for Calgary, making five saves in the loss.

The game was a tale of two halves as the Vikes came out of the gates strong, dominating possession and firing ten shots towards net in the frame.

All of that Vikes pressure paid off in the 25th minute of play when Kilbey and Millham combined for the goal that would send the Vikes onto the next round of the Canada West playoffs.

Kilbey tussled with a Dinos defender in Calgary’s 18-yard box before gaining control of the ball and firing it into the path of Millham who was able to redirect in into the back of the net.

“Kilbey did all the work on that one, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and the ball went in off my foot,” said Millham “Sometimes that’s all it takes; right place, right time.”

The Vikes kept on searching for a second goal in the first half but a combination of strong Dinos defence and some bad luck kept the team from doubling their lead.

The script was reversed coming out of the halftime break as it was the Dinos turn to put the Vikes under pressure. Five of their eight shots came in the second frame as the team from Calgary threw everything they could at the net in the hopes of extending their season.

“In the first half UVic was exceptional and we struggled to deal with them,” said Dinos head coach Troye Flannery. “We made a couple tactical changes at halftime that suited us. I thought we were really good in the second half and if we string that performance out for two halves then it could have been a different day.”

The Dinos best chance to equalize came in the 62nd minute when Maddison Fritze created some chaos.

The fifth-year forward from Edmonton controlled a pass into the box and took on four Vikes defenders before her attempted cross ricocheted up into the air inside the Vikes six-yard box.

The looping ball fell right onto the head of Damiane Sawatzky and for a second it looked her effort would tie the game up before Louwes streaked across the net to calmly catch the ball.

While Calgary continued to pressure late they couldn’t find the all-important tying goal as a Vikes defence that allowed just six goals through fourteen regular season games stepped up once again when the team needed it the most.

“We are so relieved and so happy, we have been trying to take it one step at a time but obviously this was our goal and you just can’t keep nationals out of our hearts right now,” said Millham.

The Vikes will now begin preparing for their first game at the Final Four where they will face the MacEwan Griffins, who pulled out a final second upset victory to defeat the Alberta Pandas.

“We are a good team and I think our players need to believe that, they need to believe that we can win,” said David. “We want to get to a national championship and that’s what the next game is all about.”

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