A win for Powell River Villa soccer club on November 5 has moved the team into second place in Vancouver Island Soccer League Division 3A with a record of seven wins, one loss and a tie. Villa shutout Victoria’s Bays United FC at Timberlane Park
Goaltender Mathew Liknes recorded his first shutout of the season in the 4-0 win.
“We've been really close to shutouts in the last few weeks; a few minor things have resulted in goals,” said Villa coach Chris McDonough. “It was nice to really tighten up the back. It shows we played as a unit the whole game.”
Liknes said it was relieving to finally produce a clean sheet.
“When you're winning games, you obviously want to get some shutouts,” said Liknes. “It's good for the whole team to get a shutout. It makes you more confident if you go into a tighter game.”
Villa players expect a tight game on Sunday, November 12, when they travel to southern Vancouver Island to face Gorge in a battle for first place. The Victoria-based team won 1-0 in Powell River in September, handing Villa its only loss on the season in the process.
“We're really looking forward to going down there and making up for the game we played here when they took three points from us,” said McDonough. “It's going to be a tough game.”
Against Bays United, game MVP Julius Ulrich scored twice and moved into the top 10 in division scoring with four goals.
McDonough said the German midfielder has speed, quickness and other factors that make him exciting to watch.
“He’s more familiar with his teammates and language,” said McDonough. “With all of those things combined, I expect him to improve more every week and we're starting to really see it now.”
Two other Villa players join Ulrich in the top 10 of division scoring: Kye Taylor and Jake Kenmuir.
Taylor was injured in a game against Victoria Beavers on October 22. At the time, the striker was thought to possibly be out for the rest of the season, but the team’s star player might return to the lineup as early as this weekend against Gorge.
“We’re taking it day by day, but there's a possibility he could play this weekend,” said McDonough. “He was out to training last week and he expects to train this week. We'll assess it after training on Thursday.”
Scott Sawchuk and Patrick Rainville scored the other two goals on Sunday.
McDonough said he is enjoying a lot more depth and youth on the bench than the team had all of last season.
“We're relying a lot on our younger players, but we're getting results from them,” said McDonough. “We have a lot of depth and that has contributed to our record, so someone missing is not the end of the world.”