Martlet: Vikes start divisional season off with a hot streak

28 Oct

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Vikes start divisional season off with a hot streak

While most of the student body is just settling in for the academic year, the UVic women’s soccer team has been training for months to get in shape for a season that consumes their first few months back at UVic. Expectations are high for the Vikes this year, particularly the women’s soccer team.

“Win the national championship? Of course, that’s always the goal,” said coach Tracy David, who has been coaching the Vikes since 2002 and has led them to their only national championship in 2005. Last year the Vikes won the CanWest title and were a favourite going into the nationals. They reached the semi-finals only to lose in penalty kicks to rival Trinity Western, who went on to win the nationals.

Going into the 2009 season, the Vikes are still among the top contenders for the title, along with their main rivals Trinity Western and UBC.

“Our program has recruited well but so have both of theirs,” said David. “Every year it’s pretty close.”

Already a third of the way into the season, the Vikes are a solid 4-1. Fifth-year forward Kendra Flock has been a star this season, scoring nearly half of the Vikes goals so far. But, as with every season, there have been a few speed-bumps.

“We’ve been really unlucky with injuries,” said David. “This team really needs its fifth-year players to step up and be leaders for the newer players.”

The Vikes have recruited lots of young players this year — on the 31-player roster, 12 of the players are in their first year.

First-year midfielder Kelsey Blake has had a good start to the season, scoring her first goal as a Vike after coming off the bench in a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Dinos on Sept. 19. Blake, a Victoria native, joined the Vikes for her first season after graduating from Lambrick Park Secondary School in 2008.

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was five years old,” said Blake.

“When I was 12, I went to a camp that Tracy had put on and when it was over she said, ‘Hope to see you as a future Vike.’”

While Blake was at Lambrick Park she played for their provincially-ranked soccer team. She wasn’t convinced she wanted to go to UVic, going as far as writing her SATs and going to an identification camp down in Santa Barbara.

However, with a little convincing from David, she eventually decided to stay in Victoria and become a Vike.

“She’s a really great coach,” said Blake, “One of the best I’ve ever had.”

The Vikes’ next home game is at noon on Saturday, Oct. 17, against Fraser Valley. Tickets are available at the gate.

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