Victory in Victoria?
That didn’t happen Friday for the two UNBC Timberwolves soccer teams in their first U SPORTS Canada West league game in two years, but they gave the Vikes hometown plenty of opposition.
Returning to the pitch for the first time since the pandemic wiped out their 2020 season, the UNBC men lost 2-1 in what was a physical game for both teams. This game came just after the women of the Timberwolves lost 3-1 to the Vikes.
Jose Sagaste scored both Victoria’s goals on the men’s side, while Abu Cissé replied late in the game for UNBC
UNBC goalkeeper Daniel Zadravec gave his side a huge boost with the game still scoreless, after 27 minutes of back and forth in the first half, when he dove in to snatch a scoring attempt. penalty shot to Canada West Player of the Year Isaac Koch.
“It’s like scoring a goal, honestly. This is how we see it. You never want to be tagged no matter what, ”said Rich Abney, UNBC Athletics Information Officer Alex Nielson. “For Dan doing a play like this was a huge boost.”
But Zadravec, who was playing in his second season, couldn’t stop Koch as he opened up with the ball on his foot to open the scoring in the 37th minute. Zadravec was busy in the first half as the Vikes outscored the T-Wolves 6-2.
UNBC had a few close calls early in the game when Owen Stewart and Anthony Preston both landed powerful shots over the crossbar behind goalkeeper Harjot Nijjar.
“We worked on a lot of structural things in training and Steve (UNBC coach Simonson) always asks us to think about what’s next,” said Nelson. “It feels good to have these looks. You surpass them in those moments, but that final stage or moment doesn’t come true. But it’s reassuring that we get to these places and get those looks. “
In the second half, the Vikes made it 2-0, taking possession of the ball after a handball call, which led to Sagaste’s second goal of the game. The T-Wolves thought he was offside but no flag was raised and the goal scored.
Cisse came off the bench to replace Stu Rowlands and was awarded in the 85e minute when he converted on an assist from Kensho Ando to score the first goal of the season for UNBC.
Despite an 18-9 win, UNBC managed to generate more scoring chances than their opponents, but Nijjar was up to it.
The same teams meet again tonight at 7:15 p.m. at Centennial Stadium in Victoria.
Meanwhile, in the women’s game, the T-Wolves fell behind early when Emma Skalik rebounded off the crossbar and kicked it into former goalie Brooke Molby less than a minute into the game. .
The T-Wolves equalized four minutes later when Victoria-native Sarah Zuccaro landed a 25-yard free kick past the outstretched arms of goalie Kayley Lidstone.
“I got up after being knocked down and my legs were actually a little shaking. I thought I would cross it, because I knew if it floated it would be at the net, ”Zuccaro said. “This is exactly what happened. The crowd was so intense and loud, when it happened I almost forgot they were the opposing crowd. A crazy environment to score.
Then, at eight minutes, the Vikes regained their lead when Lauren Parr was set up for Skalik.
Dari Côté capped the score late in the game.
UNBC rookies Jaslin Mandaher, Kalista Kirkness, Robyn Zinkan, Avery Nystedt, Grace Gillman, Kjera Hayman, among the team’s 21 freshmen, all played their first Canada West game on Friday.
“Everyone has this nervousness from the first game, but they handled it so well. They really stepped up today and made a big effort, ”said Zuccaro. “They worked so hard, considering how nerve-racking that first game can be.
“We’re going to watch the tape of the game and see what tactical adjustments we can make. The main thing is to recover because it is a quick turnaround, and to make sure that we are prepared physically and mentally. It will be a completely different environment. There will be no crowds, so we will have to adapt. “
The rematch begins at 5 p.m. (webcast on Canada West TV).