Men’s soccer team have a promising start to the season at the Thunderfest home opener
Bells, whistles, chants, and cheers welcomed the Vikes back to Centennial Stadium for the first men’s soccer game of the season, kicking off right as the wind and rain stopped blowing through campus. While the cheers felt like the students were welcoming the Vikes, it seemed the Vikes were also welcoming the first years to their new university life, part of Vikes Nation, colony of painted warriors ready to defend their pitch.
Officially, according to the Vikes men’s soccer website, 3 600 people attended the Vikes’ first home game of the school year on Sept. 7. (However, it didn’t sound like that many at all.)
The Vikes played two matches over the Thunderfest weekend, both of which were against British Columbia schools. The first pitched UVic against the UBCO Heat, their rivals in the Canada West division, and a popular target for jeers and heckling amongst Vikes Nation.
The first goal of the night belonged to Vikes second-year striker Ian Whibley, whose header into the bottom corner in the sixth minute was met with thunderous approval.
UBCO did not take long to respond though, as Luke Warkentin tied the game up with a sliding connection in the eighth minute. At this point, Vikes fans, to ramp up their support, proceeded to curse their opponents to throw them off their game.
Rookies Matteo Ventura and Sylvain Taghaoussi both came through for their team scoring a respective two and one goals, while Hamish Walde scored in the penultimate final minute of the game.
And so the Vikes won their first game of the year, coming in at 4-3 against UBCO.
Attendance for the second game dropped dramatically from the first. While the Vikes enjoyed a barrage of chants and support on the Friday, only 182 fans made it out for their game against the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack on Saturday. But this decrease in attendance did not dampen the Vikes’ spirits, as goals scored by Whibley and third-year midfielder Jack Hill gave them a 2-0 lead early on in the game. Whibley would add a third in the 73rd minute to give them the lead after the Wolfpack had caught up, but Wolfpack defender Josh Banton’s confident finish from just inside the box drew the game at 3-3 in the final minute. The game ended as such.
The Vikes men’s soccer team will return to Centennial Stadium on Friday, Sept. 21 where they will face off against the Calgary Dinos.