Victoria – Men’s Soccer: Vikes strike twice in second half to top Cascades

In its first road game of the young Canada West season, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team dropped a 2-0 decision to the Victoria Vikes.

The game followed a similar script to the Cascades’ 2-0 homefield loss to UBC on Friday, as after a scoreless opening half, UVic broke through offensively after the break.

Isaac Koch and Ian Whibley did the damage for the Vikes (2-0-0), scoring in the 56th and 64th minutes, respectively, as the UFV side fell to 0-2-0 on the season.

The Cascades look to get on track next weekend, as they visit Prince George, B.C. for a pair of games vs. the UNBC Timberwolves (Friday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 1 at 1 p.m.,

“Over the balance of the weekend, we’re probably a bit unlucky not to take any points,” UFV bench boss Tom Lowndes said afterward. “We created in the first half for some spells today, but we weren’t very good in the second half. We were moving too direct, we didn’t play the way we can play.

“The game is made up of moments, and two moments have changed the game. It’s a tough place to come, and when you find yourself 1-0 down in certain circumstances, it’s tough. We didn’t deal with the adversity well, and it’s something we need to be better at.”

The Cascades had some bright moments in the first half, but were unable to finish. In the 20th minute, Gurmaan Jhaj worked his way through traffic and unleashed a tricky right-footed shot that required a tough save from Vikes keeper Jas Lally diving to his left. Later on, just before halftime, Parman Minhas found a seam coming down the right wing, but his rising shot found the side netting.

The Cascades earned a couple of corners right out of the break, with Mikael Mainella and Liam Kelly making an immediate impact off the bench.

The Vikes answered with a dangerous counterattack off the second of those corners and Whibley had a great look at goal, but his shot went just wide of the post to the right of UFV keeper Ethan Duggan.

The two would meet again shortly thereafter. Duggan leaped up to claim a high-arcing ball into the box, but the ball slipped from his grasp, and in his effort to recover, Duggan was whistled for a foul on Whibley. Koch stepped to the penalty spot and slotted a shot into the bottom left corner.

Five minutes later, Whibley and Koch combined once again. Off a UVic corner, the Vikes tracked down a Cascades clearance, and Koch sent a cross in for Whibley who finished with a header.

The Cascades generated a flurry of action in UVic territory in the late going, with their best chance to score coming off the foot of Minhas, but his rising shot under pressure was snuffed by Lally.

“We were too open in the second half,” Lowndes said. “We gave them too much space and too much time, and played to their strengths a little bit. We need to be better defensively, because we gave up too many opportunities in the second half, for sure.”

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