Cameron Doherty / Victoria Vikes
VICTORIA – It wasn't always pretty but the UVic Vikes men's soccer team did whatever it took to secure a 1-0 home victory over the MacEwan Griffins on Friday.
A goal from fourth-year Vike Scot Jones in the 53rd minute was the only time either team found the back of the net, on a night when the battle in the midfield ruled the game.
"I give credit to them, they battled away and their goalkeeper made two great saves to keep them in it at the end," said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson. "It was a difficult game, they have some very quick, skillful people and we had to make adjustments."
Strong defence may have been the dominant factor in the game but each goalie still made some outstanding saves when called upon. Jasdeep Lally picked up his first clean sheet of the season in the Vikes net, while Dory Elliot performed heroics late when the Vikes were pushing for an insurance goal. Lally ended the game with five saves and Elliot with three.
MacEwan played a strong game on the road, settling back to let the Vikes have possession of the ball, before countering with pace looking to expose the Vikes defence.
"It was a great game from the boys, a little unlucky not to score with some shots cleared off the line and some missed one-on-ones with the goalie, but overall a great road performance," said Griffins head coach Adam Loga.
A big reason why the Griffins were unable to get past the Vikes was an adjustment made by Wilson. The veteran coach shifted fifth-year Paulo Dait into the centreback position, where the player from Maple Ridge shone, eventually being named MVP of the game for UVic.
The breakthrough for the Vikes came off a loose ball from a corner kick. The ball was initially cleared by the MacEwan defence but only as far as Jones, who let loose a beautiful volley into the back of the net.
"Their defender won it in the air, I just kept my eye on the ball and tried to hit it with the best technique possible," said Jones. "Good win, not the prettiest game, but at the end of the day getting all three points is all that matters. We are just going to take this confidence and keep moving forward."
The win boosts the Vikes record to 2-4-1 on the year, while MacEwan falls to 1-4-0.
Both these teams are back in action later this weekend.
MacEwan heads to Vancouver where they will take on the UBC T-Birds on Sep. 16 in a game that starts at 7:30 p.m.
The Vikes remain in Victoria and will play a rare Sunday home game against the Mount Royal Cougars at 2:00 p.m.
Both of those games can be watched live on canadawest.tv