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Vikes soccer teams eye key wins over T-Birds

A tumultuous season hit its nadir last week for the University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team (3-5-1) when it travelled all the way to Saskatoon for a one-off 6-0 road loss to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies (6-3).
A tumultuous season hit its nadir last week for the University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team (3-5-1) when it travelled all the way to Saskatoon for a one-off 6-0 road loss to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies (6-3). Goalkeeper Jassdeep Lally went down with an injury in the first half and six-foot-six defender Evan Libke had to play goal in the second half.

If that isn’t enough, up next for the Vikes in their desperate bid to stay in contact for a playoff berth, is a home-and-home set against the U Sports national No. 5-ranked UBC Thunderbirds (6-2-1) today at 5:30 p.m. at Centennial Stadium and Saturday in Vancouver.

Freshman and Reynolds Secondary Roadrunners-product Maxwell Branyik-Gil, the Vikes’ second goalkeeper but who did not make the trip to Saskatoon, will start today for the Vikes with Lally still out. Andrew Flello, also a rookie out of Reynolds, will dress as backup.

“It’s been a tough season on our players,” said Bruce Wilson, in his 30th year of coaching the Vikes.

“I hasn’t gone as well as we had hoped it would.”

Wilson estimates it will take winning four of the six remaining gamest to grab a playoff berth in the Pacific Division of the Canada West Conference.

Meanwhile, the UVic women’s soccer team is having quite the opposite season and is No. 6 in the U Sports national rankings and on a six-game winning streak. The Vikes are in Vancouver on Friday to take on the national No. 3 UBC Thunderbirds. Both teams are 7-1-1.

“We have played well — defended well and looked to attack quickly off the counter — but we can’t get carried away with ourselves because the second half of our schedule features some very tough opponents, beginning with our old friends UBC,” said Vikes coach Tracy David.

“It’s a huge game for first place in the Pacific Division.”

VIKES NOTES: The UVic men’s basketball team moves on from going 1-2 in last week’s Guy Vetrie tournament at CARSA gym by continuing the preseason tonight at 7 p.m. in the Belmont Secondary gymnasium against the Bishop’s University Gaiters from Lennoxville, Que. It’s part of a push to expose the team to more Island high schoolers and follows a Vikes intra-squad game held recently in the Parkland Secondary gym . . . The U Sports No. 4-ranked UVic women’s rugby team is off to a 3-0 start, thanks in part to the play of third-year centre Madison Aberg, who was named U Sports women’s athlete of the week for her five tries in the 59-20 victory over the Lethbridge Pronghorns. Aberg, a social sciences major, leads Canada West with 50 points over three games.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com