Returning home from four games on the road, the Thunderbird men’s soccer team scraped by with a 3-2 win on Thursday evening against the University of Victoria Vikes.
“For a lot of the good things that we did, there were some not so good things that were a little bit frustrating and disappointing, and that’s why it was closer than it needed to be in the end,” said UBC head coach Mike Mosher about the match.
The ’Birds got the one-up early, with midfielder Titouan Chopin capitalizing on a fumble by Vikes keeper Noah Pawlowski in the second minute of the match. Zach Verhoven launched the original cross, earning him his fifth assist of the season.
In the 12th, UBC’s defence was called into action when the Vikes made a break towards the net. Goalkeeper Chad Bush came up with the initial save, out of his net to block a shot. Vikes striker Keegan Lang rocketed the rebound towards the T-Bird net, but the defence came up big at the six-yard line, clearing the ball out of harm’s way.
Even with the attacking push by the Vikes, it was UBC who got the next goal. Verhoven doubled the team’s lead in the 22nd, blasting a shot past Pawlowski from just inside the box.
In the second, the Vikes were the first to strike, getting themselves within a goal early after the restart. Midfielder Jack Hill blasted the ball past Bush in the 51st, putting the pressure on the home side with forty minutes to go.
It didn’t take long for UBC to regain their two-goal lead, as Chopin took the ball to the net himself in the 53rd minute. Crossing the entirety of the box, he side-footed a rocket past Pawlowski for his second goal of the night.
Victoria put in a last-minute push towards net and caught a break as the UBC defence was caught flat-footed in their end. Vikes midfielder Xavier Araujo sent a quick shot past Bush from the top of the box, surprising the keeper as the ball breezed past him.
The 3-2 score line would stand though, as UBC solidify their seventh win of the season. The win places the T-Birds at the top of the Pacific Division table, with one game in hand over second place Trinity Western.
Chopin also takes leading scorer position for the ’Birds, with six goals so far this fall.
“This year I’ve had lots of shots, so it’s good to finish some — get some in the back of the net,” said Chopin.
The team now heads over to the island to face the Vikes again on Saturday afternoon at 2:15 p.m.
“We[‘ve] got to defend better than what we did. Some of the defensive stuff was frightening to be really honest. It was quite disappointing,” said Mosher regarding the improvements to be made for Saturday’s game.
“We should take pride in clean sheets and, you know, we let in two — we could have let in four or five … so that definitely has to be addressed.”