The inaugural Legends Cup match up was absolute gridlock until the 78th minute. The University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision to the UBC Thunderbirds in their Canada West home opener on Sept. 1 at Centennial Stadium.
The Vikes and T-Birds were shutout largely due to quality goalkeeping in both ends. For the home team that was fourth year Puck Louwes who logged six saves.
“Puck was outstanding as usual,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David about the 2017 U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian. “I expect that from her. I think everybody expects that from her and she did well again today. We are lucky we have her. Now we just need to play a little better in front of her.”
Second-year UBC forward Danielle Steer tapped in a ball from senior Margaret Hadley late in the game to secure the visitors their first goal in a season opener in Victoria in three years. Third-year keeper Emily Moore was outstanding between the pipes putting up five saves. The win lifts the T-Birds 1-0 in the Canada West and gives UBC the first two points of the Legends Cup race, a new, annual head-to-head series between both schools across six sports.
“We have so much respect for UVic,” stated UBC head coach Jesse Symons. “I think every game we have played now has been one goal over the past few years. It’s that close. They hit the inside of the post and then we get a goal just on a free kick that we fought through and got. Our games are so close that I think we have to fight for it.”
The Vikes set the tempo for the opening 10 minutes, keeping UBC in their end but the home side were unable to really test Moore. The Thunderbirds’ best chance came in the 17th minute when second year Tess McCrae sent a rocket from 25 yards out that forced Louwes to reach back and tip the ball just over the cross bar. UBC’s Steer and Michelle Jang each forced dangerous opportunities towards Louwes but the Vikes’ back line, led by Carrothers, continued to be stingy.
The Vikes closed out the opening half with a flurry of chances. In the 41st minute Vikes midfielder Aishy Shinomura cut the ball inside and blasted a left-footed shot from close range that was well scooped up by Moore. Moments later Rachel Baird had a free kick from the corner of the 18-yard-box. The ball floated dangerously in to the box and fell nicely for Caitlin Millham, whose near-post shot was saved again by Moore. Just before half time Baird skipped a long-range shot towards goal but the third-year T-Birds keeper saw it the whole way to keep the game scoreless at the break.
In the second half the Vikes got a much-needed energy boost from five-foot-three striker Trinity Kettyls. The Victoria native created two dangerous opportunities in the goal area and in the 73rd minute set up team mate Avneet Rai for their most quality chance. Kettyls controlled a bouncing ball and laid the ball in to the middle of the park where Rai blasted a low shot that clanged off the inside of the post and out of Moore’s cage.
The Thunderbirds responded and were able to break the dead lock in the 78th minute after a long-range free kick found the feet of Hadley. Hadley was able to cleverly slip the ball to Steer who tapped the ball near side on a diving Louwes for a 1-0 advantage.
The Vikes press hard until the end when Rai blasted a high shot on goal in extra time. Moore had to make an out-stretched save to secure the shutout victory.
“I thought that UBC was very good in the first half,” remarked Vikes head coach Tracy David after the loss. “I felt that we didn’t press well enough. We were too far away. We did have a game plan but we just didn’t execute it very well.”
“I thought the second half was better in terms of that from our perspective. Avneet Rai hit the post and had that gone in it would be a tie game and she struck one at the end of the game that the keeper to save. We have lots of things to work on and a tough road ahead of us but the bottom line is we have to get better.”
The Thunderbirds advance 1-0 in their Canada West campaign, while both UVic and UBC will prepare for a Sept. 7-8 road trip weekend against Fraser Valley and Trinity Western.