EDMONTON – A pair of soccer scoring outbursts have landed Alberta's Ajeej Sarkaria and Victoria's Rachel Baird Canada West first star honours for the period ending October 14.
- Ajeej Sarkaria became the CW all-time men's soccer scoring leader to earn the conference's men's first star honour, while Rachel Baird scored four goals to take the women's award
- Also earning men's stars this week were UBC's Austin Vetterl, and Trinity Western's Jacob Low
- Regina's Jordan Kulbida and Calgary's Montana Leonard were named women's stars
Thanks to a five-point weekend for the Alberta Golden Bears, Sarkaria moved into sole possession of first on the CW all-time points list, as he surpassed Calgary Dino Dominic Russo's record of 57. With two goals and three assists, Sarkaria moved into first on the list with 60 career points in just three seasons of conference play.
Meanwhile, Baird posted a quartet of goals for the Vikes, scoring a pair of goals both Saturday and Sunday, as Victoria made the most of a chilly road swing through the Wheat Province, downing Regina and Saskatchewan respectively.
Sarkaria and Baird now move forward as the conference nominees for the U SPORTS athletes of the week.
Game log: Saturday, Oct. 13 – goal and two assists in 4-0 road win over Mount Royal / Sunday, Oct. 14 – goal and an assist in 2-0 road win vs. Calgary.
Third-year Golden Bears striker Ajeej Sarkaria added to his already sparkling resume this past weekend, setting a new Canada West record thanks to a five-point weekend in Calgary.
With two goals and three assists for the Bears in their weekend sweep of Mount Royal and Calgary, Sarkaria became the Canada West all-time scoring leader. Through 41 career Canada West games, Sarkaria now has 60 points – three more than previous record holder Dominic Russo (Calgary, 2012-2016).
The Edmonton product paced the Alberta attack on Saturday against the Cougars, scoring the game-winner in the 45th minute, before assisting on two of Easton Ongaro’s goals in the second half. Sarkaria also added two points in the Bears win over Calgary on Sunday, leading the team to their 11th win.
Sarkaria leads Canada West with 18 points in 13 conference games this season. He has led the conference in scoring in each of his first two seasons, being named a conference all-star twice.
The Golden Bears wrap up the regular season this weekend against MacEwan, before hosting a quarter-final match the following weekend at Foote Field.
Game log: Saturday, Oct. 13 – two goals, including game-winner, in 4-0 road win over Regina / Sunday, Oct. 14 – two goals on five shots in 4-0 road victory vs. Saskatchewan.
University of Victoria women’s soccer player Rachel Baird was the key for a Vikes weekend sweep over the Regina Cougars (4-0) and Saskatchewan Huskies (4-0) on Oct. 13-14.
Playing in all 180 minutes, the Nanaimo native scored two goals in each game for the Vikes. Baird’s first goal against Regina was the game-winner, as both games were played in extremely cold temperatures.
Baird’s performance this weekend proved even more important, as the Vikes continue their pursuit of a Pacific Division playoff spot.
Baird has started all 12 games for the Vikes this season, and is now tied for the team lead in goals with seven, which is one goal off the conference lead.
Victoria wraps up the regular season this Friday and Saturday with home games against UFV and Trinity Western.
Game log: Friday, Oct. 12 – two goals in a 3-1 home win over Mount Royal / Saturday, Oct. 13 – two goals, including game-winner, in 2-1 home victory vs. Mount Royal.
Now in his fourth year with the Thunderbirds, Austin Vetterl is off to a red hot start to the 2018-19 season. The former Kootenay Ice forward scored twice in each of UBC’s wins over Mount Royal this past weekend, including the game-winner Saturday to help the T-Birds to their best start to a season in nearly 30 years.
Vetterl bookended the UBC's home opener Friday night, scoring just 40 seconds into the first before adding a late insurance marker. The following afternoon, the veteran sniper got UBC on the board with a beautiful deflection on the power play midway through the third period, before scoring the game-winner with another deflection with six minutes left on the clock.
Through the first four games of the season, Vetterl leads the ‘Birds with six points and a plus-five rating. His five goals leads the entire conference.
Alone at the top of the Canada West, the 4-0 Thunderbirds are enjoying their best start to a season since 1989-90. They’ll look to continue their season-opening win streak when they visit the Calgary Dinos Friday and Saturday.
Game log: Friday, Oct. 12 – goal in 2-0 home win vs. Lethbridge / Saturday, Oct. 12 – goal and three assists in 4-3 home victory over Lethbridge.
Jordan Kulbida led the Cougar offence to a weekend sweep of Lethbridge, racking up five points including a four-point effort on Saturday.
Kulbida scored a second-period marker on Friday, before erupting for a four-point outing on Saturday. The Saskatoon product had her fingerprints on all four Regina markers in the second game of the series, scoring the first Cougar goal and assisting on the other three.
Kulbida had three powerplay assists, setting up Nikki Watters-Matthes for two goals in the second period and producing a rebound for Chelsea Hallson to put home in the final frame.
The second-year forward took over the conference scoring lead with the weekend’s results (6 pts.), as the Cougars (3-1-0-0) moved into a tie for top spot in the Canada West standings with the Alberta Pandas.
The Cougars are back on home ice this weekend as the defending U SPORTS champion Manitoba Bisons will visit The Co-operators Centre.
Game log: Friday, Oct. 12 – two goals in 2-1 road win over Victoria / Saturday, Oct. 13 – goal in 3-2 home loss to UBC.
Trinity Western third-year midfielder Jacob Low had a three goal weekend, as the Spartans split with the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.
In Trinity Western’s 2-1 victory over Victoria, Low scored both goals as the Spartans rallied to win the road game Friday evening on Vancouver Island.
On Saturday night, Low scored TWU’s second goal as the Spartans fell short of a comeback against the UBC Thunderbirds, losing 3-2 in Langley, B.C.
Low now sits tied for seventh spot on the Canada West goal scoring list (7 G) and seventh on the points list (9 pts.).
The weekend split moves TWU’s record to 8-2-4 and second place in the Canada West Pacific division.
TWU is back in action Tuesday night, as the play their make-up game, from Aug 26 against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack. The match is scheduled for 3 p.m. PDT in Kamloops, B.C.
Game log: Saturday, Oct. 13 – goal in 3-0 home win vs. UNBC / Sunday, Oct. 14 – two goals in 4-0 home victory over MacEwan.
Montana Leonard showed off her offensive flare for the University of Calgary Dinos women’s soccer team this weekend as they pushed their win streak to 11 games.
The third-year midfielder scored three goals and was a threat to score throughout both of Calgary’s games with 10 shot attempts.
Leonard scored the final goal of the match on Saturday, as she converted on a penalty kick in a 3-0 win for the Dinos over the UNBC Timberwolves.
The Dinos faced the MacEwan Griffins on Sunday where Leonard was once again successful on a penalty kick to give her team a 1-0 lead. The Richmond, B.C. native then used her speed, taking the ball from midfield and charged at the net for her second of the match in extra time. The Dinos beat the Griffins 4-0.
Leonard has now scored goals in five of her team’s last six games.
Calgary will wrap up the regular season with road games against the Mount Royal Cougars and Alberta Pandas on Oct. 19 and 21.