The University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team will return to the island without a victorious result following a 4-0 loss to the Fraser Valley Cascades today, Sept. 2, at MRC Sports Complex in Abbotsford. The win bookends a three-day trip that started Aug. 31 with a 7-1 loss to Trinity Western.
“We played a good team today,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson. “I thought we gave up a bad goal in the first minute. We have 10 or 11 first year kids on the team and it’s going to be a tough year. There’s no question about it. We have had a few injuries including some from senior players who are not even here.”
First-year Vikes keeper Harjot Nijjar earned his first start of the season, as the Vikes fall to 0-2 on the season. Despite being out-shot by only 9-8, the Vikes were unable to really test Fraser Valley netminder David Hicks throughout the game.
That proved to be the difference as the Cascades’ experience showed in the finer details, including getting on the board in the second minute of play. Fourth-year midfielder Gurmaan Jhaj buried a free kick to lift the home side 1-0.
Cascades midfielder Parman Minhas was the benefactor of his own efforts in the 42nd minute. Minhas collected a loose ball in the box and after his initial attempt was blocked, he volleyed the ball past Nijjar for a 2-0 Fraser Valley lead.
The Vikes mustered a few attempts towards goal including a shot and back-to-back corner kicks from Matteo Ventura but no first-half attempts were on target. The score remained 2-0 for the home side at the break.
“I thought we were the better team in the first half fitness wise and the way we played to be honest except we gave a goal away in the first minute on a free kick and you can’t do that at this level,” noted Wilson. “You have to be sharper and make sure on that free kick from way out it can’t go in the goal. Nothing you can do now. We had a young goalkeeper in today and it’s the first time he has played for us ever so he’s going to be around for five years and this year is a work in progress.”
In the second half, rookie Andrew Peat got his first goal as a Cascade, after he expertly redirected a long-range free kick from Jhaj. The 3-0 lead seemed to frustrate the Vikes defensively, who gave up 13 fouls in the match.
Despite the score margin, first-year Vike Rees Goertzen provided some energy for the visitors, creating some space up front but his shot in the 81st minute went high over the Cascades goal. Vikes defender Evan Libke pushed forward in a desperate attempts to break the shutout. Libke was able to take a crack at goal but the ball was well saved by Hicks.
The Vikes were unable to get on the board and the 4-0 loss puts them 0-2 in the Canada West. A busy schedule ahead sees the Vikes head to Prince George, B.C. for a make-up game against UNBC on Sept. 5, as well as their annual ThunderFest home opener on Sept. 7 against UBC Okanagan and another home game on Sept. 8 against Thompson Rivers.
“We have to get home and we leave for Prince George on Tuesday because we couldn’t travel last week in the smoke and then we come back for two games at home,” stressed Wilson about the five games in eight days schedule. “Some of our young guys well get their eyes opened just what the university league is like.”