Vikes soccer teams earn weekend sweeps

Isaac Koch of the University of Victoria Vikes is stating his case not only for Canada West MVP, but also to become the next potential player to move to pro soccer from U Sports.

Zach Verhoven became the first when he jumped from the UBC Thunderbirds to sign this season with Pacific FC in the inaugural Canadian Premier League season. People see a lot of comparisons between Koch and the lightning-quick Verhoven.

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Koch is also undersized but loaded with speed. He scored five goals over the weekend as the Vikes (7-3-1) swept UBC-Okanagan 3-0 on a natural hat trick by Koch and Thompson Rivers 3-2 on a Koch brace in Canada West action at Centennial Stadium.

The fourth-year native of Kelowna missed all of last season with a serious knee injury, but has rallied brilliantly and has eight goals and eight assists on the season to co-lead Canada West in both categories.

The Vikes meet UBC — 6-1-2 without Verhoven, who jumped to PFC despite having two years of U Sports eligibility remaining — in a key matchup Thursday at 5 p.m. at Centennial Stadium. The game has tremendous playoff implications for both teams.

The UVic Vikes women’s soccer team, however, doesn’t have to worry about that. The Vikes know they are headed to the 2019 U Sports national championship tournament as host from Nov. 7-10 at Centennial Stadium.

The Vikes recorded back-to-back 1-0 wins over the weekend against UBC-Okanagan, on a goal by third-year Island Wave-product Trinity Kettyls, and Thompson Rivers, on a goal by Duncan sophomore Emma Dewit, to move to 5-2-3 in Canada West.

“Knowing we are guaranteed going to nationals is a luxury and it isn’t,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David.

“We still have four games remaining in the regular season and Canada West playoffs, so nationals seem still like a long way off.”

Which is actually the luxury called time that the injury-riddled Vikes desperately need at the moment.

“It’s been a strange season with lots of injuries,” said David.

“We’ve been limping along. But our first-year players have really stepped in and performed well for us with the chances they have been provided because of our injuries. The rookies have put in a good shift. That bodes well for us. Every day, we see improvement.”

The Vikes are preparing to play UBC on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. at Centennial Stadium.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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