The UVic Vikes men’s and women’s soccer teams are burning through the Canada West competition with playoffs fast approaching.
On Friday, the first-place Vikes women (10-2) host the eighth-place Regina Cougars (5-5-2) in the quarter-final round of the playoffs, 6 p.m. at Centennial Stadium. The Vikes capped the regular season on Saturday with its seventh straight win, 4-0 over the Winnipeg Wesmen, sealing the Canada West regular season championship.
“It was an accomplishment for our program to win the league but this is a whole new start,” said Vikes coach Tracy David. “Everyone is on the same page, same level, and the points from the regular season mean nothing except for the fact we get to host the next game.”
A win in Friday’s single-game elimination quarter-final puts the Vikes into the semifinal of the Canada West Final Four here in Victoria, Nov. 1 to 3. Last year the Vikes advanced to the CIS semifinals but suffered a loss to Trinity Spartans, then rebounded for a bronze medal win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
“We are eyeing the national championship final but there’s lots of games to play between now and then,” David said.
Her squad is not overlooking the Cougars despite beating them handily, 4-0, in their only meeting this season back on Oct. 11. Goals in that game came from Lindsay Hoetzel, Emma Greig, Sarah Douglas and Jackie Harrison. (Inset photo of Mallory Hackett vs. Sasktechwan, Oct. 12.)
“It would be nice (to score four goals again) but as they say, our playoffs are do-or-die, which makes them so dangerous,” David said.
The Vikes are getting used to playing important games at home and it gives them less to worry about. They’re also used to training in the Victoria fog, which may return for Friday night.
“In a game of such importance there’s a lot of unknowns so it’s nice to feel there’s no distraction with (Centennial Stadium). We don’t have to waste time thinking about the site, we know it so well.”
The Vikes men’s team is on the road this weekend for its final two games of the Canada West schedule. Saturday and Sunday the second-place Vikes (8-3-1) are in Prince George against the last-place UNBC Timberwolves (2-7-3).
The Vikes men have qualified for the Canada West Final Six while first-place UBC Thunderbirds (11-1) have clinched the right to host the men’s Final Four.
The Vikes topped the Lethbridge Pronghorns 4-0 on Friday. Cameron Stokes continued his frenzied scoring pace with his eighth goal of the season. The Vikes rolled through nearly their entire bench to rest their regulars.On Saturday the Vikes earned a come-from-behind victory over the Calgary Dinos 4-1. Stokes scored his ninth goal and is currently tied with UBC’s Milad Mehrabi for the Canada West goal scoring lead. Hundal is tied for third with eight.