UVic men begin march to national soccer championship

Vikes captain Andrew Ravenhill was in middle school when he first starting thinking he’d like to play for the Vikes, following in the footsteps of his dad, Dave Ravenhill.

乐橙官网平台“I remember when I was 13 or 14, Chief [Vikes coach Bruce Wilson] asked me if I wanted to play for the Vikes,” Ravenhill said.

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Ravenhill trained with the Vikes while in high school at Claremont, but for Vikes goalkeeper Elliot Mitrou, an Oak Bay grad, the transition from youth soccer to UVic was quite a culture shock.

“It’s not personal, but when you’re 17, and 30-year-olds on your team are yelling at you, it’s an adjustment period, to say the least,” Mitrou said.

Five years later, Ravenhill and Mitrou, who were both named Canada West first-team all-stars on Wednesday, are seasoned veterans hoping to lead the Vikes to a repeat of their 2011 Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship title.

It all begins — and could possibly end — today at UBC when the Vikes, ranked No. 2 in the Pacific Division, meet the Prairie Division No. 3 Calgary Dinos to begin the Canada West Final Six tournament. The winner of today’s match, which begins at 3:30 p.m., moves on to play the Prairie No. 1 Saskatchewan Huskies in Friday’s semifinals. In today’s other game, the Prairie No. 2 Alberta Golden Bears play the Pacific No. 3 Fraser Valley Cascades, with the winner advancing to meet the Pacific No. 1 UBC Thunderbirds. The Huskies and T-Birds had first-round byes.

The gold-medal game is on Sunday, and both finalists earn berths into the CIS championship tournament, in Fredericton, N.B., Nov. 7-10.

乐橙官网平台Along with senior teammates Bobby Eng, Alex Redpath and Gavin Barrett, Ravenhill and Mitrou will be anchoring the team for the final push to qualify for nationals.

“We will be stressing to the team, for sure, this is a one-off game. Whoever wants it more will win,” Wilson said. “There’s no tomorrow.”

Two weeks ago, the Vikes defeated the Dinos 4-1 at UVic. To do it again, Victoria will need solid defence to back the front-liners, such as Cam Hundal and Cam Stokes. Hundal, a first-team Canada West all-star, and Stokes, a second-team all-star, have each scored 11 goals this season.

“Our attacking this year has been phenomenal,” Mitrou said. “As long as we can keep it steady in the back, we know they can do the business up front.”

sepp@nyanessb.com

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