Kelowna, BC - In their final action of the conference season, the Heat men's soccer team were unable to muster up any offense as they fell 2-0 to the Victoria Vikes on Senior Day at the Nonis Sports Field.
The Vikes would breakthrough in first half stoppage time as Xavier Araujo was brought down in the penalty area and MacKenzie Rigg stepped up and slotted it home past Heat keeper Nicholas Reitsma.
It was a much slower paced second half, with the only goal coming from freshman Matteo Ventura in the 63rd minute following a turnover from the Heat goalkeeper.
Both teams had already been eliminated from postseason contention heading into the weekend.
It was a ceremonial start to the match, as Heat graduate Shaun Pilcher was awarded the start in his final game with the Heat but was subbed off quickly after as he has been injured for the past weeks. The first chance came just seven minutes in when Xavier Araujo's shot from outside the area hit off the cross bar and out following a UBCO turnover.
The best Heat chance game In the 35 minute off a free-kick when Aidan Tuck whipped a ball into the box and Hamish Walde's header floated just wide. Araujo was the creater of the opening goal for the visitors as he was taken down inside the penalty area and MacKenzie Rigg stepped out and slotted it home for the 1-0 halftime lead.
Heat keeper Nicholas Reitsma would do his best to keep them in the match with big saves in both the 51st and 61st minute, including a breakaway stop. Just minutes after the breakaway save the keeper would turn the ball over in his own half and Vikes superstar freshman Matteo Ventura would net his 10th of the season firing it off the post and in. UBCO's offense would struggle to create chances in the final 45 minutes, as the Vikes defense forced them to play long balls over the top.
Bret Depner #3 / Defender
- Depner will graduate in the spring with a degree in Engineering.
- The Penticton product has featured in 53 career games for the Heat in his four seasons, including 45 starts. Along with Pilcher was a key member of the defense that set the Canada West record of 685 consecutive scoreless minutes, last fall.
- A model student-athlete, Depner has been named an Academic All-Canadian every season to date.
- Depner has also twice been a finalist for Male Provost Award for Excellence (one semester) and has also twice a finalist for UBC Okanagan Student Athlete of the Year
- Coaches Dante Zanatta, Tom Flanagan and Gary Graham had this to say about Bret:
- Brett is the epitome of the U SPORTS athlete / been able to play the sport that he loves at a high level and also combine it with excellence in the classroom
- We have enjoyed the 4 years that Brett has spent with us as his work rate at training and at games was never in question
- Brett has always put the team before his own goals as a player and we could not have asked for a better person to be involved with our group.
Shaun Pilcher #16 / Defender
- Pilcher is a fifth-year captain who has been a hallmark of the Heat defence dating back to his rookie season in 2014-15.The Human Kinetics student has played in 56 career CW matches, with all of these being starts.
- Pilcher, injured for the final few matches, last suited up for the Heat and closed out his weekend in style in one of the better weekend for UBCO when he scored the game winning goal in a Saturday win – the 2nd of his career. Then on Sunday in a draw with Saskatchewan Pilcher scored again to even the match for the draw.
- Part of a backline that helped his keeper set a Canada West record of 685 consecutive scoreless minutes.
- The coaches had this to say about their fifth year back-liner:
- It has been an absolute pleasure to have Shaun part of our program for the past 5 years
- Shaun's dedication to the team and the program is the standard that all players should look to achieve, one of the first to training, team work outs and team events
- He is leaving a very big hole to fill both on and off the pitch.
- One of the greatest compliments that I can say about Shaun is that I consider him a personal friend and hope that he has a great future once he is finished at UBCO.
~ Oliver Rizun, Heat Sports Informaiton