Photo credit Gordon Lee
By Andy Watson, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team won their fifth CIS national title in school history with a 3-1 win over the Saint Mary’s Huskies in front of 3,023 fans at Centennial Stadium in Victoria, B.C., on Sunday afternoon.
UVic went 3-0 in the tournament from Nov. 10-13 on home field and have now won five national titles including banners in 2004, 1996, 1987 and 1975. The first title, in 1975, was also won at Centennial Stadium, that year with a 2-1 win over Concordia.
Saint Mary’s is still winless in their five national championship final appearances.
Cam Hundal, named the Team Sales player of the game and tournament MVP, finished with three goals and one assist, including the game-winner in the championship final over the Huskies. His dominating performance throughout the weekend generated chants of “Cam-V-P” from the pro-Vikes crowd.
The freshman and Surrey, B.C., native said he was happy for the entire team and is already excited for next season.
“We believed in each other,” Hundal said. “It’s a great school, the team is very good and we have a great coach in Bruce Wilson. It feels good to win a championship, but I want to win many championships here, and win it again next year.”
Wesley Barrett of Richmond, B.C., scored the other Vikes goal – their first of the game in the 43rd minute - and Elvir Gigolaj of London, Ont., scored for Saint Mary’s.
Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson, in his 24th season, said he was pleased with his team and their full buy-in to his system throughout the season.
“We had a lot of senior players who came back this year and we picked up some quality rookies as well,” Wilson said. “I’m so happy, I don’t know what to say. I feel so fortunate that we won this game in front of this great crowd with great alumni presence and they were all loud. It doesn’t get better than this.”
The Vikes had two early chances, but the best chance before their first goal came from the Huskies. Tournament all-star Derek Gaudet of Bayside, N.S., came in on a dangerous break and as he shot the ball, UVic’s fourth-year fullback Joel Gomez of Surrey, B.C., sped in to make a massive shot block on what was a great opportunity on a good angle for Gaudet.
Minutes later, Hundal was unlucky as his shot in a goalmouth scramble sailed high and over the crossbar, eluding Huskies netminder Adam Miller of Swindon, England. He made 12 saves in the loss. UVic senior forward Jordie Oberg of Victoria had another chance for UVic minutes later but he was robbed in the 31st minute by Miller.
Finally, the Vikes broke through and with a highlight-reel marker. Wesley Barrett of Richmond, B.C. – one of three Barrett brothers on the team – scored from just over 30 yards out, running past two Huskies defenders untouched and hammering a spinning ball in open space to curl it into the top left corner in the 43rd minute to make it 1-0 UVic. The score held to the halftime whistle.
While Wesley Barrett did not start, but answered the call when he was called into the game to replace injured Vikes midfielder David Adams of Surrey, B.C., who was forced to leave the game after taking a tough tackle from Huskies fullback Shawn Kodejs of Halifax. Kodejs was issued a yellow card on the play.
In the second half, UVic added to its lead when Hundal took a header from Oberg off his chest and volleyed the ball on one bounce with his left foot, rainbowing it over top of Miller to extend the UVic lead to 2-0 in the 66th minute. The play started off a brilliant throw from Vikes fullback Andrew Ravenhill of Victoria.
The Huskies cut the lead to 2-1 on an all-effort goal from Gigolaj, also named to the tournament all-star team. The Huskies leading scorer finished with nine goals through the post-season including four goals in three games at the CIS national tournament. His last goal was a gutsy redirection off a broken corner, with the assist coming from Huskies fullback Zach Bauld of Halifax, N.S.
Craig Gorman of Victoria set up Hundal’s second goal of
the night to extend the lead to 3-1, threading a cross along the
goal-line, hitting Hundal who was streaking in from the top of the
18-yard-box. Hundal beat his defender to the ball to score the
insurance goal in the 77th minute.
Gorman made three beautiful moves to set up the goal after getting the ball from a Ravenhill throw-in. His first move was a spinorama to beat fullback Rory Kennedy of Halifax, N.S., and save the ball from going out of bounds, the second a nice dummy-move on Kodejs and the third a great play to outmuscle Bauld to deliver the cross through to the middle through a sea of Huskies.
After Vikes forward Kyle Kostis of Calgary nearly made it 4-1 with a shot just over the bar, the Huskies countered and Gigolaj also had his shot just sail high.
The Huskies last solid chance was stopped by UVic’s goalkeeper and third-year Victoria native Elliot Mitrou in the 88th minute. With the ball bouncing, Gigolaj managed to get a volley off, floating toward the Vikes net before Mitrou acrobatically tipped it enough to push it over top of the crossbar.
Graduating fullback and captain James Rhodes, who had a solid performance in his final game as a Vike, said he was proud of his team for their entire season.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said the fifth-year Victoria native. “Last year was a bit of a battle to get through but to see it all work out this year, bringing people back to be able to win in their final year, it’s an amazing feeling and a storybook way to end my career.”
“To win it in front of all these fans, we all know we could win at home, we’re so happy.”
UVic now improves to 19-10-3 all-time at the CIS national men’s soccer tournament, while Saint Mary’s slips to 17-14-3.
UVIC 1-2: 3
SMU 0-1: 1
1. UVIC Wesley Barrett (43rd) (unassisted)
2. UVIC Cam Hundal (53rd) (Jordie Oberg)
3. SMU Elvir Gigolaj (66th) (Zach Bauld)
4. UVIC Cam Hundal (77th) (Craig Gorman)
UVIC: Elliot Mitrou (W, 1 GA, 2 saves, 90:00, 2-0)
SMU: Adam Miller (L, 3 GA, 8 saves, 90:00. 2-1)
Shots: UVIC 22, SMU 14
Shots on net: UVIC 11, SMU 3
Corners: UVIC 6, SMU 9
Offsides: UVIC 1, SMU 2
Fouls: UVIC 6, SMU 10
Yellow cards: SMU Shawn Kodejs (8th), Zach Bauld (67th), Chris MacEachern (90th)
Red cards: none
Players of the game:
UVIC: Cam Hundal – Team Sales Player of the Game
SMU: Elvir Gigolaj - Gatorade Player of the Game
Cam Hundal – Victoria
Goalkeeper: Adam Miller – Saint Mary’s
Defence: Tyler Hutchins – Alberta
Defence: Gavin Barrett – UVic
Defence: Sandro Rajkovic – Cape Breton
Defence: Andrew Ravenhill – UVic
Midfield: Cam Hundal – UVic
Midfield: Andrew Rigby – Cape Breton
Midfield: Derek Gaudet – Saint Mary’s
Forward: Elvir Gigolaj – Saint Mary’s
Forward: Jordie Oberg – UVic
Forward: Ian Greedy – Cape Breton
R.W. Pugh Fair Play award:
SCHEDULE & RESULTS (All times local: PACIFIC TIME)
Thursday, Nov. 10
11:00 Quarter-final 1: Saint Mary’s 2 McGill 1
13:30 Quarter-final 2: Alberta 2 Toronto 1
16:30 Quarter-final 3: Cape Breton 2 McMaster 1 (ET)
19:00 Quarter-final 4: Victoria 3 Montreal 2 (4-2 K)
Friday, Nov. 11
11:00 Consolation 1: McGill 1 Toronto 0
13:30 Consolation 2: McMaster 2 Montreal 1 (5-4 K)
16:30 Semifinal 1: Saint Mary’s 2 Alberta 0 (ET)
19:00 Semifinal 2: Victoria 3 Cape Breton 2
Saturday, Nov. 12
14:30 5th-place game: McGill 3 McMaster 1
Sunday, Nov. 13
11:30 Bronze medal: Cape Breton 1 Alberta 0
14:00 Championship final: UVic 3 Saint Mary’s 1