A massive rebuild begins for the graduation-depleted University of Victoria Vikes when they open their women’s soccer preseason with an exhibition game today at 3:30 p.m. at Centennial Stadium against the Peninsula College Pirates from Port Angeles.
“We lost our whole midfield,” noted UVic head coach Tracy David.
That includes captain Carlita Branion-Calles and former Canadian U-20 FIFA World Cup international Jaclyn Sawicki.
“We lost a lot of impactful players and it’s going to take some time for us to meld as a unit,” said David, whose other departing veterans include Cassie Dennis, Maryse Reichgeld and Mallory Hackett.
“We will have to work hard for every point this season.”
The mantle of Vikes leadership now falls on the shoulders of Emma Greig, the fifth year forward from Tofino.
“I expect Emma to lead by example,” said David.
The Vikes have always been in the mix in Canada West and already the holes were being filled during training camp, which began two weeks ago. Promising newcomers include striker Kiara Kilbey out of Stelly’s Secondary and Mia Gunter from Edmonton, an intriguing NCAA Pac-12 transfer from the University of Oregon Ducks.
The 2015 Canada West season opens for UVic on Sept. 5 at Centennial Stadium against the UBC Thunderbirds.
UVic was 8-1-3 in the conference regular-season last year, and ranked No. 5 in Canada, before a 3-0 upset loss to the Fraser Valley Cascades in the Canada West quarter-finals.