Set pieces supplied the offense for both teams as UBC Okanagan and the University of Victoria scored five combined goals in the second half on Friday night, as the Vikes would get the better of the Heat (4-3) in their home opener.
Both squads took advantage early on with Victoria netting a goal on a header off a cross at the six-minute mark. UBC Okanagan bounced back and countered two minutes later when Luke Warkentin notched his second on the year.
The Heat controlled the tempo and possession for most of the first half and their best chance at the go-ahead goal was in the 21st minute when Christian Taylor blasted a long-range shot that forced Vikes keeper Jas Lally to fully sprawl and tip the ball just over the cross bar.
Nicholas Reitsma was busy as the Heat keeper made five saves on the night, his toughest challenge may have been just before half Mark Kaiser cut the ball to his right and drilled the ball from over 20 yards out but he was up to the task.
After an hour with the score deadlocked (1-1) in a Canada West men’s soccer match at Centennial Stadium both teams used the set piece to finish five more times, UVic scored on a free kick to open the scoring in the second half at the 70th minute.
UBCO countered with a Nikhil Reddy penalty kick to bring the match back even at two. Five minutes later the Vikes jumped back into the lead when Matteo Ventura scored on a PK of his own, his second of straight goal for the home team.
Victoria went up by two (4-2) when their corner was headed into the UBCO net near the end of regulation.
No chance of folding the Heat’s captain, Hamish Walde, a minute later scored on a free kick just outside the 18-yard box. The Heat would come no closer as time expired a few plays later.
- Luke Warkentin took a pass from Christian Taylor got the ball to his left foot a step around the defender when he scorched a low strike to the right corner.
- Nikhil Reddy scored his first on the year as he calmly buried his penalty kick beating the keeper to the right.
- Hamish Walde as he struck a low ball to the left of the wall beating the Vikes keeper to the low far corner. The free kick goal was his first goal of the young Canada West season.
- Ian Whibley scored his first goal of the season as from Xavier Araujo paced a pass back to Will Adams whose bending cross found the head of Whibley in the 7th minute.
- The Vikes earned two goals from Matteo Ventura both on set pieces, his first was a long strike on a free kick and a long run saw Ventura brought down in the box for his PK opportunity.
- Sylvain Taghaoussi added needed insurance as he headed in Mark Kaiser’s corner kick for a 4-2 lead.
Heat coach Dante Zanatta’s thoughts:
“We gave the game away. We controlled it in the first half and didn’t come out to play in the second half and the mistakes we made are things we talked about constantly. Credit to UVic they put the ball in the back of the net and have to be commended for their effort and their time but we gave the game away.”
“As a former player I would love to play in an atmosphere like this. If you ca play and get excited to play in opportunities like this it’s great and if we can get those types of fans week in and week out it’s better for the league.”
“You don’t have to change overnight. They have to change some of their habits and become more committed. Tomorrow night we are going to play one of the best teams in Canada and they will regroup tonight and see if we can refocus and get prepared to play tomorrow.”
The Home opener for Victoria was their Annual ThunderFest night that saw over 3,600 fans cheering from start to finish in an end-to-end thriller
The Vikes move up to a (1-2-1) Canada West record, while the Heat drop to (1-2-2). The Vikes will finish their home weekend hosting Thompson Rivers WolfPack at 7:15 p.m. at Centennial Stadium, while the Heat will return to the mainland to play UBC at 6:30 p.m. Both games will be webcast live on pay-per-view at canadawest.tv
VIC: #7 Matteo Ventura
UBCO: #20 Luke Warkentin
~ With notes from Ali Baggott, Vikes Communications