Both teams threatened late but neither could convert when it mattered the most in a 2-2 tie between the UVic Vikes and the Fraser Valley Cascades in a game played on August 26 in Victoria, B.C.
One day after losing opening their season with a 5-1 loss, the Vikes made eight changes to their starting line up.
“There is not a lot of difference between all of our players and I knew I was going to play two separate teams this weekend, regardless of results,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson. “I give full credit to the team that came in, they did a super job.”
The draw secured the first point of the season for the Cascades, an important result on the road in the ultra-competitive Pacific Division of Canada West soccer.
“To be honest we are just happy to get through this weekend, we were dealing with a couple of injuries but we will take the point, and move on to our bye weekend,” said Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes. “I think we looked a little heavy-legged from the game against UBC last night. It took us a while to find our feet, once we did that we started to pass and move a bit better.”
It didn’t take long for the Cascades to get on the board.
Just two minutes into the game, Fraser Valley took advantage of some loose UVic defending when Brady Weir fed the ball to midfielder Parman Minhas who made no mistake in placing the ball perfectly into the bottom corner.
The Vikes responded quickly however, just seven minutes later second-year Vike Jack Hillplayed a beautiful touch pass into the path of midfielder Isaac Koch who displayed one of his trademark bursts of speed to get past his defender and slot the ball into the net.
The Cascades almost regained their lead in the 32nd minute when some fancy footwork from Elijah Sampson resulted in a free kick right at the edge of the 18-yard box. It was Gurmaan Jhaj who stepped up and took the kick for the Cascades but his powerful low shot flew just past the post.
Right before halftime the Vikes took their first lead of the 2017 season when Nick Graham opened his UVic scoring account. Taking a pass from Ian Whibley, before beating David Hicks in net for the Cascades.
With both teams trading opportunities early in the second half it took until the halfway through the second frame for the Cascades to find an equalizer.
A free kick from a dangerous area off the foot of Brady Weir clattered off the cross bar, falling right in the path of Bronson Hartley who hit the bouncing ball first time, absolutely blasting the ball into the net past a helpless Maxwell Branyik-Gil making his first start in net for UVic.
“Bronson Hartley has been our best player all year,” said Lowndes. “That was fantastic technically, I thought he was our strongest player tonight as well as last night.”
Playing in front of their home crowd it was the Vikes who controlled the game late. A flurry of chances was capped off by a free header in tight from Tarnvir Bhandal but Alex Skretza, who entered the game at half time for the Cascades, made a huge diving save to preserve the tie.
“I thought we did well, the team that came out tonight battled away and we were a little bit unlucky to not walk away with three points to be honest,” said Wilson.
These teams will now continue their 2017 Canada West regular seasons with identical records of 0-1-1.
The Vikes will hit the road for the first time this season when they play the Thompson Rivers WolfPack and the UBCO Heat on September 2 and 3 respectively.
The Cascades meanwhile have a week off before they host those same WolfPack and Heat in Abbotsford on September 8 and 9.
All of those games can be watched live on CanadaWest TV
SCORING 1 2 FINAL
Victoria (0-1-1) 1 1 2
UFV (0-1-1) 1 1 2
Victoria: #11 Isaac Koch
UFV: #7 Bronson Hartley