The CIS No. 8-ranked University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team have their final weekend to grab points on the road this weekend, Oct. 17-18. The Vikes will travel to play unranked Lethbridge and Calgary in two of their final four regular season games before a final home weekend against Trinity Western and Fraser Valley.
The Vikes are currently third in the West Division with a 6-2-2 record and trail first-placed and CIS No. 4-ranked UBC (8-1-1) and second placed and CIS No. 9-ranked Trinity Western. Lethbridge are in the middle of the pack in the East Division, currently boasting a 2-5-3 record, while Calgary top the East with a 7-2-1 record.
Last weekend the Vikes were pitted against mainland rivals UBC and goals by Emily Lieuwen and Kiara Kilbey allowed the Vikes to grab a point in a 2-2 draw on the road. The Vikes are undefeated for the last seven games, only conceding losses early in the season to UBC (1-0 on Sept. 5) and Trinity Western (3-1 on Sept. 12).
“A bit of a concern for us was last weekend we allowed a goal in the first five minutes of the game,” said Vikes women’s soccer head coach Tracy David about the team conceding a set-piece goal to UBC on Oct. 16. “But credit to our team as the girls responded well and scored two of our own.”
First-year Vike Kilbey is tied for fifth in the conference and leads all Victoria scorers with five goals and one assist, while senior striker Emma Greig is tied for third in the Canada West and leads all Vikes in points with three goals and five assists.
“Emma certainly is a force to be reckoned with,” added David on the fifth year. “It doesn’t matter what the conditions are she is always a consistent performer. She is definitely lethal and works extremely hard.”
Lethbridge enter this weekend looking to turn their streak of late around after the Horns have lost the last three games (one to Alberta, two to Calgary). In 10 games the Pronghorns have scored just seven goals, three of which are credited to third year Nikki Furukawa. Defender Kim Shellenberg has potted two goals, while the team has let in 17 goals. Keeper duties have been filled by Micaela Stone who has, despite a 1.70 GAA, has posted three shutouts after two scoreless draws against Regina and Winnipeg and a 2-0 win over MacEwan at the start of the season.
“Every weekend is a big weekend and we need to make sure we are ready to play both of the teams this weekend,” said David about not taking either Lethbridge or Calgary lightly. “We haven’t played at Lethbridge for the past few years so we don’t know what it’s going to be like. Weather will likely be an issue. Wind is always a huge factor there and also their pitch is artificial turf.”
For Calgary forward Jordan Smith and midfielder Mollee Ramsay will be key focal points for the Vikes defence line. Smith was named Canada West Female Athlete of the week after her four-goal performance on the weekend. She leads the league in points with six goals and four assists. Dinos newcomer Ramsay began her career as a Dino with a bang scoring one goal in each of the Dinos’ first five games.
“Both Calgary and Lethbridge are dangerous on set pieces so we need to limit the amount of those opportunities we are giving away,” added David.
With just four games left in the regular season the play-off picture is expected to become much clearer over the next two weeks. Following regular season games, Oct. 24-25, teams will prepare for regional quarter-finals on Oct. 31. The top three teams in each divisions cross-over with the fourth, fifth and sixth placed teams in their division. The top three teams to advance out of the quarter-finals will move on to the Canada West Final Six hosted by the highest remaining seed in the East Division on Nov. 5-8.
“Our midfield is starting to tick a little bit and we are moving pretty well there,” added David on the Vikes’ strengths. “We also rely heavily on our back four and our goalkeeper, Meaghan Storie. Meaghan is becoming a real leader between the pipes and we need her voice. She is becoming more assertive and that’s something we need from our goal keeper.”
The Vikes play Lethbridge on Oct. 17 and Calgary on Oct. 18. Both games are at 11 a.m. pacific time and will be broadcast on pay-per-view with live video and stats at uvic.canadawest.tv. The Vikes end their regular season with home games against Trinity Western.