The University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team extended their win streak to three games on Sept. 26 with a strong 3-0 victory on the road against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack. The win moves the Vikes to 3-2-1 on the season, giving them some space from the WolfPack, who fall to 2-4-1.
Goals from first-year forward Kiara Kilbey, third-year midfielder Stephanie Badilla-Gutierrez, third-year midfielder Teresa Anania, and a great support performance by fifth-year Emma Greig led the way for the Vikes in the victory. Ten shots found the target from 24 total attempts for the Vikes in Saturday’s win. Goalkeeper Meaghan Storie did well to earn her third clean sheet of the season, stopping all three shots directed towards her from the WolfPack.
For the WolfPack it was a different story, who despite a strong performance in an end-to-end contest, couldn’t find the back of the net. WolfPack third-year defender Sarah Seebach looked dangerous throughout the match in the air off corners while fifth-year forward Danielle Fauteux regularly tested the Vikes’ defence on the wing. WolfPack goalkeeper Taylor Shantz made seven saves in the losing effort.
“They certainly had the momentum at times in the first half,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David. “They had six or seven corner kicks and they were dangerous. I was proud of our team for being able to sustain the momentum which was going against us.”
The home opener was a welcomed change for the WolfPack after playing their first six games of the season on the road, going 2-3-1 on the stretch. The WolfPack dropped two results in a row last weekend – being held scoreless in 1-0 and 3-0 losses to Fraser Valley and Trinity Western – before their match-up with the Vikes.
The Vikes and WolfPack entered Saturday’s game tied for fourth and the final playoff spot in the Canada West Pacific Division Standings, further adding to the importance and motivation for both sides. The Vikes have a crucial game in-hand on the WolfPack, having only played five games up to Saturday’s match in comparison to Thompson Rivers’ six.
Both teams traded dominating spells of possession for the first 20 minutes of the match with the best chance coming on a corner off the head of Thompson Rivers’ Seebach, who nodded it past Storie but over the crossbar. Vikes’ defenders did well to nullify the wide pressure from Fauteux, who used her speed to attack the Vikes’ back line.
After back and forth action for the first quarter of the match, the Vikes took the lead on 25 minutes through Kilbey. The rookie’s third goal of the season began beautifully from a pinpoint cross to the back post by Greig. Shantz couldn’t get there in time to stop Kilbey from driving the ball into the net to give the Vikes the 1-0 lead.
The Vikes had to soak up the WolfPack pressure after going ahead, including another dangerous header off a corner kick from Seebach near the far post that she couldn’t keep down. Fauteux tried from distance outside the box a minute later and forced a smart save from Vikes’ goalkeeper Meaghan Storie to push it over the bar.
The Vikes continued the corner trend in the 39th minute off the foot of forward Gutierrez. The cross in and ball scramble fell to Vikes’ fourth-year defender Lindsay Machin, who forced a smart defensive save from WolfPack second-year midfielder Shelby Kieper to keep the deficit at one.
Just seconds before half-time, the Vikes doubled their lead going into the break to give themselves more breathing room. Gutierrez made a smart run behind the Thompson Rivers’ defensive line, allowing Greig to slip through another great pass for her second assist on the day after Gutierrez knocked it past Shantz for the 2-0 lead.
The Vikes carried their 2-0 advantage into the break, leading in the shots department 13-4 with six shots on target compared to the WolfPack’s one. The first half saw back and forth action on both sides of the field, but the Vikes capitalized on their opportunities for the lead.
The Vikes had to be sharp in the 65th minute as the WolfPack attacked forward in numbers with the Vikes’ defence on the back foot. Vikes’ second-year midfielder Katie Carrothers had to react quickly to clear a potential one-on-one for the WolfPack on Storie, keeping the Vikes’ clean sheet intact.
In the 74th minute, the Vikes added a crucial insurance goal to secure themselves the three points on a strong pursuit of a loose ball in the box by Anania. Her third goal of the season was rewarded from winning possession from the WolfPack on a scramble in the WolfPack’s box before driving it home past Shantz to make it 3-0 with just over 15 minutes to play.
Vikes’ second-year forward Megan Elder came close to making it 4-0 in the 85th minute on a bold chip shot towards Shantz. The ambition was almost rewarded when the shot struck the crossbar but couldn’t find its way into the net.
Despite the loss, the WolfPack will take positives from the strong performances from players like Seebach and Fauteux. Third year WolfPack defender Jodi Hutton had a strong game on defence going forward, helping Thompson Rivers generate the attacking force they displayed all game. It’s the missed chances and loss of ball control in the midfield that helped the Vikes through on the day.
The Vikes return to action on the road looking to extend their winning ways against the UBC Okanagan Heat in Kelowna on Sept. 27 while the WolfPack are in tough with a match-up against the UBC Thunderbirds. The game can be watched live on canadawest.tv.
TRU: 0 – 0 : 0
UVIC: 3 – 2 : 1
UVIC: Kiara Kilbey (25′), S. Badilla-Gutierrez (45′), T. Anania (73’)