History repeated itself at Centennial Stadium, as the Vikes men’s soccer team beat the University of Northern B.C. for the seventh time in a row, and by a score of 3-0.
Vikes players Cam Hundal, Keevan Webb, and Craig Gorman scored for UVic, in a game that never looked out of the home team’s control. With a boisterous crowd of 2 383, the Vikes dominated the game from the first whistle to the last, never once looking in serious danger of conceding a goal.
Since UNBC entered Canada West men’s soccer in 2012, the Vikes have outscored the Timberwolves by a score of 21-5. If the visitors were planning on bucking the trend, those plans were disrupted both quickly and rudely. Only four minutes had passed when winger Gorman opened the scoring with a penalty won by striker Sam Prette. Prette, who was a Canada West Star of the Week after his assist for Gorman against UBC the previous week on Sept. 5, was taken down by a UNBC defender in the penalty area, and Gorman stepped forward to score his second goal of the season and send the bumper Centennial Stadium crowd into rapture.
The score was doubled just fifteen minutes later. With UNBC allowing the Vikes time and space to pass the ball around, centre-back Keevan Webb, making his Vikes debut, found himself with the ball at his feet and no defender within ten yards of him. Webb strode forward and smashed the ball into the back of the net from 30 yards, sparking wild celebrations from the fans and from his teammates. It was a remarkable goal, although UNBC goalkeeper Tyrone Venhola may feel that he could have done more.
After a thirty-yard thunderbolt from debuting centre-back Keevan Webb had given Vikes a 2-0 lead, veteran winger Cam Hundal was on hand to add his first of the season and the third of the night for the Vikes.
After several crosses into the UNBC box lead to nothing, a header from Vikes midfielder Gareth Langdon found its way to the feet of Hundal via Prette. Hundal, who has scored three goals in six appearances versus UNBC, had only the keeper to beat, but found himself moving away from the net as the goalkeeper came out, diving at his feet. Hundal turned away and then, pirouetting, dinked the ball back across himself and the net, as several UNBC defenders did nothing but stare as the perfectly weighted chip nestled itself into the bottom corner.
With the three points all but wrapped up for the Vikes, the second half was played at a slower, more methodical pace. UVic kept control of the game, and with a majority of possession, the home team came close to scoring several times. Webb, made another driving run through the center of the field, but his effort was blocked. And despite being just six yards from goal, Hundal couldn’t force home his second of the evening from the rebound. UNBC found their first opportunity of the evening, with Vikes goalkeeper Noah Pawlowski having to dive down to his right to foil UNBC striker Brandon Wallace from 20 yards. That save marked the last serious attempt for either side, however, and the game finished 3-0.
Prette, who ended the game with two assists and was one of the Vikes’ best players, is one of several who have joined the team following the departure of many key players from last year’s lineup.
“We’ve picked up some solid new guys,” said Prette. “We’ve got a really deep team. We can bring on a whole bunch of players who can come in from the bench and make a difference.”
One such player was Isaac Koch, a first-year winger, who came into the game in the second half, and while he was unable to convert any of his chances, he ran the UNBC defense to tatters. Koch made for a strong debut, and was grateful for the lively home crowd.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Koch. “You come on and the fans definitely help with [your performance]. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s an extra energy that you get, and it’s fun.”
The Vikes men’s soccer team play their next game against Trinity Western University tomorrow at 7:15 p.m. in Langley; they will play Fraser Valley University on Saturday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Abbotsford.