Sports

Powerhouse teams play for provincial gold

The soccer rivalry between the VIU Mariners and the Douglas Royals has extended to provincials, and maybe even to nationals.

Vancouver Island University’s men’s soccer team will face Douglas on Sunday (Oct. 28) in the provincial final at the Pacific Western Athletic Association championships in Squamish.

The No. 2-seeded Mariners shut out the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack 4-0 in one of today's semifinals, while the top-seeded Royals got by the Kwantlen Eagles with similar ease in the other semi, winning 4-1.

Since the Royals already had a host berth to Canadian Colleges’ Athletic Association nationals, the Mariners will join them there no matter the outcome of tomorrow's game. But even though both sides are bound for nationals, the provincial championship is still something to play for.

Douglas (10-1-3) was the only team to beat VIU (8-1-5) during the PacWest season, a 3-2 game earlier this month on the mainland. The Royals scored the winner in the 85th minute of that one.

“We know that we can play with them, we know what it takes, that we’re going to have to play as hard as we can. And they know they’re going to have to step it up,” said Bill Merriman, coach of the M’s.

Douglas is led by striker Sahil Sandhu, whose 15 goals this season were most in the league, but VIU’s goalkeeper Robbie Cochrane had the league’s best goals-against average. M’s midfielder Stephen Ewashko said the M’s are the most well-rounded team and quite capable of beating the Royals.

“There’s nothing special about them,” he said. “Their thing is they have some good individual players that are, by far, top players in the league, but I think we’re the top team in the league, still.”

GAME ON … VIU goal scorers in Saturday's semifinal were Drissa Bouare, Ewashko, Blaze Roberts and man of the match Jordan de Graff … Sunday's PacWest men's soccer championship game is at 1 p.m. To read an article on the VIU Mariners men's soccer team from earlier this week, please click here.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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