The University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team begins their 2015 Canada West playoffs on the road in Abbotsford, B.C. with a matchup against the Fraser Valley Cascades in the quarter-final round. The Vikes and Cascades battled it out for hosting rights in the final game of the season with the Cascades securing the honours after a 2-2 draw at Centennial Stadium on Oct. 24.
An Amanda Carruthers equalizer in the 81st minute secured a vital point for the Cascades that took away the Vikes’ hosting hopes. The Cascades finished third in the West Division with a record of 8-4-2 and 26 points, while the Vikes were a point behind with a 7-3-4 record.
It was a historic draw for the Cascades, who secured a home game in the Canada West playoffs for the first time in their program’s history.
“It’s a very similar situation to last year with playing the Cascades in the last game of the season and the playoff quarter-finals,” said Vikes women’s soccer head coach Tracy David, whose team fell to the Cascades in last season’s Canada West Quarter-Finals 3-0. “It’s a quick turnaround required for getting into the playoff mindset, whether you’re on the road or at home. There’s no room for error in these games.”
Neither team were able to secure a full three points in either of the two matchups played this year. The Vikes and Cascades played to a 0-0 draw early in the season in Abbotsford on Sept. 11.
The Vikes have heavily benefited from the addition of first-year forward Kiara Kilbey, who leads the way in goals, totalling six through the regular season. It’s an added benefit that compliments a strong Vikes veteran core of Emma Greig, Shannon Elder and Mia Gunter, all of whom have pulled their share of the heavy lifting for the Vikes.
“(Kilbey) has done well in her first season,” said David of her young forward. “As a Vike, we have an expectation for players to step out of their comfort zones in order to grow and get better. I still don’t think we’ve seen everything from her yet.”
Fraser Valley holds a similar threat up front in forwards Monika Levarsky and Gurpreet Dhaliwal, who sit in the Canada West’s Top-5 for goals scored. Levarsky exits the regular season with seven goals and two assists, while Dhaliwal was credited with six goals and four assists.
The Vikes boast one of the best defensive records in the Canada West, conceding only 11 goals this season – almost twice as few as their quarter-final opponents. Only the league-leading UBC Thunderbirds and Trinity Western Spartans fared better than the Vikes in that department.
The Vikes and Cascades play at 4:00 p.m. in Abbotsford on Oct. 31. The game will be streamed with live video and stats by pay-per-view on canadawest.tv.