VICTORIA – The UVic Vikes women’s soccer team threw everything they could towards net in the final twenty minutes of play but couldn’t overcome the hole they found themselves in, in an eventual 2-1 loss to the host Trinity Western Spartans at the Canada West Championship Game on Nov. 4.
“They were ready to go and so were we but we had one lapse and it was enough for them to score,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David. “They scored another one, but credit to our team, they battled and got the game to within one.”
Second-year forward Georgia Bignold scored the lone goal of the game for the Vikes with Stephanie Badilla Gutierrez picking up the assist. Kathryn Harvey and Brooklyn Tidder were the goal-scorers for Trinity Western.
Puck Louwes made three saves in the Vikes net as the team surrendered more than one goal in a game for just the third time all season. Christina Oliverio also made three saves for the Spartans.
The Spartans made their home field advantage pay off almost immediately after the opening whistle.
A ball was sent into the box by the always-dangerous Rachel Hutchinson and Harvey managed to run between two Vikes defenders and tuck the ball underneath a diving Louwes.
For a team that had only trailed in four of their previous 16 games, the Vikes responded well to the adversity of being down early in a hostile environment.
The team slowly fought their way back into the game and were able two record two shots and couple of dangerous corner kicks against an extremely formidable Spartans defence in the half.
The Spartans doubled their lead in the 52nd minute of play when a ball was put into the Vikes 18-yard box from a free kick. Tidder and a Vikes defender jostled for the ball but it was Tidder who came up with it and fired the ball past a helpless Louwes.
A goal in the 72nd minute from the Vikes almost sparked the comeback.
A beautiful, curling free kick from Badilla Gutierrez was sent in back post and Bignold rose to the ball with a beautiful header to power it past Oliverio.
The Vikes pressed for an equalizer throughout the remainder of the game but the Spartans did well to choke the game off in the midfield and deny the Vikes anymore clear-cut scoring opportunities.
The loss was just the second of the season for the Vikes, their only previous defeat came all the way back on Sept. 9 and it was by an identical 2-1 score-line to these very same Spartans.
“Trinity are a very good team and I hope we get to play them again but they played really well tonight,” said David.
The Vikes were gunning for their first Canada West Championship since 2008 but instead will head to the U SPORTS National Championships, hosted in Winnipeg, MB from Nov. 9-12, as the No. 2 seed from the conference.