Young Vikes toppled by Spartans in season opener

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VICTORIA – It was a David and Goliath affair in the University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team’s season opener as the Trinity Western Spartans put on a 7-1 display on home field in Langley, B.C. to start their Canada West season. The Vikes gave up four goals in 19 minutes in the first half to send the young side to an 0-1 start of their 2018 campaign.

“It was not a very good game for us,” said Vikes head Coach Bruce Wilson, who enters his 31st season at the helm. “We had only about 20 minutes of decent play. It was a bit of an eye opener for some of our younger players. The level of Trinity Western is definitely higher than us at the moment and we have to get better as the year goes on.”

The Spartans enjoyed a three-goal performance from fourth-year forward Domenic Poletto. The Calgary native scored the opener volleying in a high ball after a hard cross in to the box. Cody Fransen netted two in the game, while Caleb Johnson and Austin Kasian also got on the board.

For the Vikes fourth year Niko Cristante broke the shutout scoring unassisted in the 35th minute. This is Cristante’s first season with the Vikes following an impressive career playing for Vancouver Island University. The humanities major was fueled after his team was down by four and put on a footwork showcase eliminating four players before finding the top of the net as the Vikes trailed 4-1 entering half time.
“When you look at the number of first year kids that are out here we knew it was going to be a tough year,” added Wilson about newcomers Evan Wills, Matteo Ventura, Nick Park and Rees Goertzen, all of who played significant minutes tonight. “They are going to get experience and the only way they are going to get experience is to play against good teams like Trinity Western.”

The Spartans scored again in quick succession in the second half after Poletto controlled another great cross into the box in the 55th minute. Poletto and Fransen than each scored two minutes apart in the 63rd and 65th minute of play.

“I would think Trinity Western will be pushing UBC big time for the number one position and so it’s a good start for us in terms of playing against a quality team. We know what we have to do in order to compete,” noted Wilson.

The Vikes can’t spend too much time thinking about tonight’s deficit as they will head to Abbotsford to play the Fraser Valley Cascades on Sept. 2 at 2:00 p.m. This weekend is the start of an intense series of games following their opening weekend getting postponed due to British Columbia wildfire smoke.

“The issue now is that we play on Sunday and then we have to go to Prince George for a make-up game and then we play two at home,” stressed Wilson. “Within eight days we have a total of five games which is not the best but there isn’t much we can do.”

The Vikes’ games against UNBC, originally Aug. 23-24, have been split up and re-scheduled for Sept. 4 and 27. The Sept. 4 game will be in Prince George at 6:30 p.m., while the Sept. 27 game will be played in Victoria.

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