VICTORIA - The UBCO men's soccer squad were blitzed by an Okanagan transplant and ended up on the short side of a (3-0) score in a crucial Pacific Division battle on Friday night in Victoria.
West Kelowna product, Isaac Koch, handled the scoring duties for the Vikes, earning his second-career hat trick negating the solid scoring chances earned by UBC Okanagan at Centennial Stadium.
With this loss, the Heat are clinging onto the last playoff spot as they drop to (6-5-2). In Pacific Division standings, the Heat are sitting at fourth with three games remaining in Canada West play.
The scoring opened when Ian Whibley dumped the ball into space following the turnover and let Isaac Koch's speed take over. Koch threw it into fifth gear and blazed past Spencer Young to get in alone on Nicholas Reitsma. In tight, he tucked it five-hole for his fourth goal of the season in the 37th minute.
Reitsma responded with a nice snag in the 43rd minute for his first and only save of the half. Niko Cristante tried his patented turnaround strike from the top of the box, but Reitsma was there to pull it down.
Reitsma and Vikes' keeper entered this evening's tilt with the top two save percentages in the conference.
The West Kelowna product's speed was on display once again seven minutes into the second half when he ripped past Heat defender Aaron Mulama. All Mulama could do was haul him down. The yellow card inside the box allowed Koch to take a free kick to the right of the net. Taking his time, he lined it up, curled his strike around the wall and tucked it in short side.
Vikes keeper, Jas Lally's toughest assignments came off free kicks from midfield.
First, he had to swim through a crowd to haul down a free kick from Young. Minutes later he used his left hand to swat away a free kick that got redirected on two headers, the latest one coming off of Pierson Stanley. He recorded three saves to earn his fifth shutout of the season.
Lally is now tied with Reitsma and Sebastian Colyn for the Canada West lead in shutouts.
Koch later completed the hat trick in the 67th minute when Cristante gave him a brilliant through ball. Koch raced up field, split a pair of defenders and chipped it over Reitsma. He last accomplished the feat on Oct. 21, 2016, against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.
The Vikes (6-3-1) are back in action tomorrow night when the WolfPack are in town. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Heat are in Vancouver on Sunday for a tilt with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. Their match is set for 1 p.m.
Catch all the action on Canada West TV, presented by CO-OP.
~Seyara Campbell, Heat Sports Information / With Notes from Tyler Lowey, Vikes Communications