The VIU Mariners women’s soccer team put a feather in its cap last season, but wishes it could have had a different prize, instead.
The M’s step back on the pitch Saturday (Sept. 10) for another B.C. Colleges’ Athletic Association season armed with the experience of a year ago. In 2010, the lady M’s went undefeated in the regular season but winless at provincials.
“I think we lost a little bit of focus last year with all the distractions of the undefeated season,” said Anup Kang, the team’s coach. “So this year we want to be peaking going into the provincials and get to our ultimate goal, to win provincials and go to nationals.”
The M’s have a lot of players back from last year’s team, but there is also some fresh talent so the 2011 Mariners will set about creating a new identity.
“We always adjust our game plan according to the talent that we have,” Kang said. “Our focus this year is going to be to be real strong defensively and then we feel like we have a really good counter-attacking team.”
VIU’s top goal scorer from last year is gone, so the offence will have a different look to it.
“It’s been a question that we’ve all thought of,” said Mariah Robinson, one of the team captains. “We all know that we have to step it up that much more and each of us need to see the back of the net a lot more.”
Jolene Nagy scored four goals in one pre-season game this summer and Kang said the striker has added pace to her game. Robinson is another scoring threat up front.
Veteran midfielders Emily Nicholson and Caity Genereaux will work the outside of the pitch, with newcomer Jess Burma inside.
The back end is led by veteran Steph Dean, with rookie Samantha Rodgers a standout of the pre-season. Sarah Meredith is another key defender.
Shelby Walker returns to the goalkeeper position.
GAME ON … The M’s women play Capilano on Saturday in North Vancouver. The first home game will be Sept. 17 versus Douglas at 1 p.m. at Mariner Field … To read a season preview on the VIU Mariners men’s soccer team, please click here.