With one game remaining before the holiday break in the 2017/2018 Vancouver Island Soccer League Division 3A season, Powell River Villa soccer club has a firm grip on third place.
Villa won its ninth game of the season, beating last place Juan de Fuca Pilgrims 5-1 at Timberlane Park on December 3.
Julius Ulrich led Villa’s offensive attack with two goals and was named the game’s most valuable player. Patrick Rainville, Scott Sawchuk and Jake Kenmuir scored one goal apiece. Kenmuir is in second place in VISL Division 3A scoring with 11 points.
Kye Taylor returned to Villa’s lineup and played his usual physical game after being sidelined due to injury since October 22.
Villa carried the play throughout the game, but Pilgrims opened the scoring before the home team equalized on Ulrich’s first goal. Villa could have put up a number of goals in the first half but were unable to capitalize on chances, according to coach Chris McDonough.
“Their keeper made some big saves,” said McDonough. “They defended well in the first half. We had a tough time breaking them down.”
McDonough said he was not happy with Villa’s play in the first 45 minutes. He said he went into the dressing room at the half and had some choice words for his players, who then came out and executed well in the second half.
The game was played under weather excellent conditions, which has been the case for most home games in the first half of the season.
Villa has 41 goals for and only nine against for a division-leading goal differential of plus 32.
Despite everything going well for the team this season, Powell River’s soccer community has not responded, other than a core group of supporters, according to Villa president Jamie Zroback.
Zroback said he would like to see more fans, especially from the city’s younger soccer ranks.
“It's free for them,” said Zroback. “Maybe not a lot of them realize that, but we've put out mass emails to youth soccer that our games are free for them to attend.”
Sunday was the last home game for Ulrich, who will return to his native Germany in the new year. With six points, Ulrich is one of the division’s top 10 scorers. McDonough said the German has been an excellent addition, a valuable teammate and will be missed.
Hometown fans will have to wait until 2018 to see Villa play again. Its last game before the holiday break takes place Saturday, December 9, on Vancouver Island against Victoria West Beavers.
Going into the game, Villa has a record of nine wins, two losses, both to Gorge, and one tie. The team’s 28 points puts it two back of second-place Gorge and five points back of first-place Bays United.