Defence leads Vikes to Conference Championship Game as they clinch a berth at Nationals

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VICTORIA – It was a game that went the way so many have for the UVic Vikes women’s soccer team in the 2017 season, score a goal through some brilliant attacking and then shut the opposition offence down for the rest of the game, this time there was just a little bit more on the line.

“This team has just been taking it one game at a time all year long and it’s paid off for us,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David. “We have a Championship game tomorrow and then we have a National Championship to prepare for.”

The team’s 1-0 win over the MacEwan Griffins in the Canada West Semifinal, hosted in Langley, B.C. on Nov. 3 not only saw them progress to the Gold medal game on Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m. but it also guaranteed them a spot at the U SPORTS National Championships taking place in Winnipeg, MB on Nov. 9-12.

Kiara Kilbey scored the lone goal of the game as the Canada West Second Team All-Star scored her tenth goal of the season. First Team All-Star Elise Butler drew the assist on the goal, while Puck Louwes, also a First Team All-Star, recorded her outstanding 12th shutout through 16 Canada West games.

The Vikes dominated possession of the ball right from the opening whistle, outshooting the Griffins 3-0 in the first half while also compiling eleven corner kicks in the opening 45 minutes of play.

The Griffins didn’t make it all the way to the conference semifinals without reason however, and their sturdy back line was able to repel attack after attack from the Vikes early in the game.

The Vikes made all that pressure pay off in the 29th minute of play.

Butler controlled a high ball outside the MacEwan box, before passing it to Kilbey, who beat two defenders before firing the a rocket of a shot past a helpless Emily Burns and into the top corner.

Just minutes after the opening whistle of the second half Louwes was called into action for the first time in the game and responded the way she has all season, with a stop.

A high-arcing shot from Griffins midfielder Suekiana Coucair looked like it was destined for the top corner before Louwes dove backwards and was just able to tip the ball over the crossbar.

The Vikes defence settled down after that and was able to keep the Griffins from putting any more shots on net throughout the contest as their stifling defence once again led the team to victory.

“It was a tale of two halves,” said David. “I thought we played really, really well in the first half and looked to dominate and then in the second half MacEwan found their legs and started to come at us.”

The Vikes have little time rest on their laurels as they await the outcome of the second semifinal between UBC and Trinity Western to see who they will play for Canada West gold tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m.

“I’m proud of the effort that we put in but we still have to better going forward, we have to create more chances,” said David. “I am happy that it ended the way that it did.”

SCORING                          1     2     FINAL
Victoria (11-1-4)                 1     0     1
GMU (10-6-1)                     0     0     0

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