Ali Baggott, University of Victoria

The University of Victoria Vikes women’s soccer team conceded a 1-0 game to the visiting Calgary Dinos on Sept .14 at Centennial Stadium in Victoria. Despite generating the majority of the chances in the opening half it was Calgary that turned the corner after the break as fifth-year Dino Maddison Fritze’s composure helped the Dinos improve their Canada West record to 2-1-0, while the Vikes fall to 1-3-0.

For the Vikes, keeper Puck Louwes made three saves in the game and was also forced out to clear several loose balls in the box. Kiara KilbeyGeorgia Bignold and Rachel Baird generated the majority of the Vikes’ chances, while defenders Katie Carrothers and Eryn Libert-Scott did well to hold off the Calgary attack.

Dinos keeper Lauren Houghton, a 2017 Canada West Second Team All-Star and All-rookie team member, kept her team in the game as they withstood the waves of Victoria pressure in the first half and then buried their chance in the second. Fritze generated four shots and scored the game winner in the 67th minute.

“I thought we were pretty good for the first 15 minutes and then we stopped ball winning and when we stop ball winning we can’t generate much attack when we don’t have the ball,” said Vikes women’s soccer head coach Tracy David. “We have to get the ball. Calgary was good. They made us look dead average in the last 20 minutes and credit to them.”

The Vikes wasted no time testing Houghton as Kilbey had an off-paced shot on target in the opening minute of the game. In the fourth minute Kilbey set up Bignold on a split pass that gave the third year a near breakaway but space closed too quickly and Bignold who fired wide.

In the ninth minute Aishy Shinomura spun in midfield and sent a curling ball in front of Bignold to run on to. Bignold’s space was again stymied away from the five-foot-seven netminder Houghton who dove on the loose ball to deny a shot.

The Dinos’ best chance came in the 28th minute when Kelsie MacDonald pounded a long-range shot on target and Louwes had to step back and make the save on the line. Fifth-year Calgary striker Natalie Arnett’s experience and speed was the only spark for the visitors in the first half, particularly in the 31st minute when she raced past Vikes defender Katie Carrothers to nearly create an opportunity for herself at the top of the box.

The Dinos had a near deflection in the box from Taylor Wells that curled wide of the net as Louwes was forced to make just one save in the half, relative to Houghton’s three. The Vikes out-shot the Dinos 7-4 in the opening half but quantity wasn’t measuring up to quality and the game remained scoreless at the break.

The second half saw a renewed surge for the visiting Dinos who had a near chance from the veteran Fritze in the seventh minute. Fritze worked her way through the Vikes defence and sent a thundering shot towards the goal but the ball curled just past the far post.

The Dinos nearly went up on a set piece from just outside the box in the 57th minute. Third-year midfielder Sienna Prince-McPherson looked like she was going to put the free kick on target but a last-second shift in the box allowed Jordan Smith to be wide open near the penalty spot. Prince-McPherson slid the ball on the ground but Smith’s touch went just wide of the Vikes net.

The Dinos continued to dominate the chances in the second half and they were rewarded in the 67thminute when Prince-McPherson volleyed a nice pass up the middle of the field to Fritze. The five-foot-nine striker calmly steered the ball through three Vikes defenders and beat Louwes low on the ground for a 1-0 Calgary lead.

The Dinos continued to lay on the pressure as Louwes seemed on her own in the box. In the 85thminute Dinos defender Amy Mikuska’s corner kick found the head of Fritze but the well-targeted header was saved by Louwes.

The Vikes had a free kick just outside the 18-yard-box in the 90th minute but Baird’s shot was seen all the way by Houghton. In extra time Louwes slid out to challenge the speedy Arnett on one last chance for the Dinos to double their lead. Second-year Vike Aveneet Rai also had one last go from distance but Houghton’s finger tips kept the Vikes at bay to keep the game 1-0 in favour of the visiting Dinos.

“It is tough because this is such a competitive league,” said David, who guided the Vikes to a fifth-place finish at the 2017 U SPORTS National Championship. “We can’t claw back those three points that we just dropped and that will put us further and further behind. Lethbridge is a team that is pretty organized defensively. They are going to put lots of bodies behind the ball. We are going to have to rebound. We can’t dwell on this performance. I have to give Calgary credit. They battled and got stronger and stronger as the game went on.”

The Vikes will quickly turn around to host the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Sept. 15 at 5:00 p.m., while the Dinos will trek across the pond to play the UBC Thunderbirds. Both games will be broadcast on pay-per-view at canadawest.tv.

SCORING SUMMARY:
1          2:         F
CGY:    0          1:         1
VIC:      0          0:         0

GAME MVPs
CGY: #7 Damiane Sawatzky
VIC: #19 Rachel Baird

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