Two goals in the second half from the Thompson Rivers WolfPack were enough to see them squeak by the host UVic Vikes men’s soccer team at Centennial Stadium on Oct. 14.
Ryan Glanville and Mitch Popadynetz scored the goals for the WolfPack while Isaac Kochresponded for the Vikes, all three goals came in a twenty minute span in the second half.
The loss drops the Vikes to a record of 5-7-1 on the season and with just two games left to play, the team from Victoria will need a lot of things to go their way in the final weekend of the season if they are to avoid missing out on the playoffs.
“We are disappointed with the result, I thought we played very well in the first half,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson. “Our defending on the second goal was not good at all and they capitalized. We pushed forward at the end and were a little but unlucky not to score but full credit to TRU, they deserved to win.”
TRU meanwhile, improves to 5-3-5 on the season and the win helps solidify their spot in the final playoff position in a very tight Pacific Division playoff race.
“It’s our first win as a program in Victoria, it’s always a tough place to come play,” said WolfPack head coach John Antulov. “These last couple of games have playoff implications, so for us to get the three points was huge.”
Thompson Rivers out shot the Vikes 15-4 in the match and Maxwell Branyik-Gil in the Vikes net made a couple outstanding stops to keep his team in the game. Allan Connor made his first start of the season in net for TRU and the team’s former goalkeeper coach looked solid in his return to university soccer after a long absence.
The WolfPack struck first in the 54th minute of play.
Justin Donaldson got his head on a long-ball into the box and was able to direct it towards Glanville, who powered the ball into the net.
The Vikes rose to occasion after surrendering the lead. They began to pile on the pressure and their efforts were rewarded with a goal in the 68th minute.
A beautiful touch pass from Michael Baart sent Koch into the box and the speedy winger blasted a shot past a helpless Connor in the TRU net.
“It was a great one-two, and we did well to come back from being down one so it’s tough on the players because they battled hard but didn’t get a result from it,” said Wilson.
It was Glanville again who did the work on TRU’s game-winning goal in the 77th minute.
The burly forward powered his way into the Vikes 18-yard and eventually forced a defender to pull him down for a penalty shot.
Popadynetz stepped up to the spot and tucked the ball into the back of the net to give Thompson Rivers all three points from the match.
“Ryan came up big,” said Antulov. “He scored the goal and then made some great moves to draw the penalty shot, not only that but he was winning balls and his work rate in the second half was just fantastic, so kudos to him on coming up big when we needed him.”
The Vikes tried their hardest to equalize but couldn’t pose a serious threat to a sturdy WolfPack defence in the closing minutes of the game.
With this being their final home game of the season the Vikes paid tribute to four graduating players from this years roster before tonight’s game. Tarnvir Bhandal, Dorian Colopisis, Paulo Dait and Nick Pineda Graham were all recognized for their contributions to the Vikes program.
Both of these teams have two games left on their schedule.
The Vikes will travel to the Lower Mainland next weekend for a pair of games against the Fraser Valley Cascades and Trinity Western Spartans on Oct. 21 and 22.
The WolfPack return to the Interior for a home-and-home series with the UBC Okanagan Heat on Oct. 19 and 21.
All of those games can be watched live on canadawest.tv
Victoria (5-7-1) 0 1 1
TRU (5-3-5) 0 2 2
Victoria: #23 Dorian Colopisis
TRU: #22 Kofi Nyavor