Dan Khavkin, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY- Mount Royal Cougars hosted the University of Victoria Vikes on the annual Seniors Day for fifth-year students on Saturday afternoon at Cougar Stadium Field, drawing a hard-fought 0-0 game.
The Oct. 14 match-day was special enough as is but also had huge playoff stipulations for the Cougars who needed a win to secure their spot in the Canada West quarter-finals.
Victoria was sitting in second place coming into the match and already had a playoff berth to their name.
In the first 45, it was the visiting Vikes who kept the pressure on the home Cougars playing possession and sending balls in from the wide, but a resilient Cougar defence held their own.
Victoria had a chance that could've changed the outcome of the game late in the half.
Forward Victoria-Stephanie Gutierrez found herself open in the area after a three-person attack line formed inside the Cougars box and the ball landing on her feet.
With only the goalkeeper to beat, Gutierrez sent the ball sailing over the net.
Both teams took a 0-0 game into the break.
The Vikes had an early quality chance in the second half, breaking through the Cougars defence off a corner kick.
A scramble in the box led to a Vikes strike that was blocked by a handful of Cougar defenders, sacrificing their bodies to keep the ball out of the net.
In the 69h, the Vikes were robbed of a sure goal by Cougar netminder Cailyn Leeson.
A corner kick placed on the top of the box was missed by everyone and as a result, the ball took a high bounce. Clair Ethier volleyed the ball low but Leeson kicked her leg out right off of her goal line, sending the ball out of bounds.
The contest ended in 0-0 with Leeson adding her fifth clean sheet of the season while Vikes goalie Puck Louwes got her seventh on the year.
Leeson also sits in the top three for total saves in Canada West.
The wind played factor into the game but coach Tino Fusco was happy with the result starting, "I think it's important to pick up points on any day but especially today, because we want our seniors to go away feeling like they contributed some factor in today's match and they did that,"
MRU did well by absorbing the Victoria press all game long and secured themselves a point against the Pacific Division powerhouse.
MRU may be on a four-game winless run but improve to 4-5-2 on the season with playoff hopes still within arms reach while Victoria who already secured their spot, bump their record up to 7-1-3 and are holding on to second place in the Pacific.