Mariners make sure they’re playing at provincials

NANAIMO – The VIU Mariners and TRU WolfPack play a semifinal match Saturday (Oct. 26) at 3 p.m. at Merle Logan Field.

It would have been a shame if soccer provincials in Nanaimo didn’t have a hometown entry. So the Vancouver Island University Mariners men’s soccer team made sure they got in.

Dan Cato, M’s captain, said in the past, he’s spoken to players who have had to run the concession at provincials because their team didn’t qualify. The Mariners realized at mid-season that could happen to them if they didn’t pull up their socks, so to speak.

“Since then, we’ve had our focus. We set our goal – we needed to make provincials no matter what,” Cato said. “And it feels very good to make it and not be serving hotdogs.”

The Mariners were late-comers to their party – they qualified on Sunday, the last day of the season, coming up with a 4-0 win over the Douglas Royals on the mainland.

“It was a good test of character,” said Cato. “It was one of those fight-or-flight moments.”

Bill Merriman, VIU coach, said the win showed that his team is learning what it takes.

“They knew that that last game was for everything,” he said. “They kept their shape really well, they moved the ball very well, they talked. They just played as a team, they put it all together.”

Farhad Abdulgani, who scored a hat trick that game, said his team knew what was at stake.

“We showed a lot of character…” he said. “People were just fired up and they wanted to win.”

Now, each of the teams in the Pacific Western Athletic Association championships has an equal shot at advancing to nationals.

The Mariners, as the fourth seed, will have to try to get past the top-ranked Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.

TRU won both regular-season matches, 4-2 in Kamloops and then 2-1 in Nanaimo. But Merriman pointed to a moral victory from that 2-1 loss – his Mariners were down to 10 men in the second half and still outscored the ’Pack 1-0.

“Playing with that kind of heart, they could do well against TRU,” said the coach. “You never know. It’ll be a good game.”

Cato said the WolfPack play physical and can get under your skin, but they also have skilled scorers who will have to be closely marked.

“If we do that, it’s always the advantage to the defender because you just have to poke the ball away, he has to put it in the net,” Cato said.

The M’s feel they’ve gotten better since their matches with the ’Pack. They’ll try to play the kind of soccer that got them to provincials.

“Which is find that healthy balance between heart and determination but also composure and using your energy wisely,” Cato said.

Abdulgani said his team needs to keep its focus in a match it badly wants to win.

“Mentally we have to be stronger…” he said. “We just have to keep calm and believe in ourself.”

He said the M’s associate their home pitch with winning, so that will be a factor. The Mariners hope the local soccer community will be out in force.

“Other people’s belief in you gives you the confidence you need to go out and do what we have to do,” said Cato. “So as many fans as we can get out, and as loud and supportive as we can get them, the better for us.”

GAME ON … VIU and TRU play Saturday (Oct. 26) at 3 p.m. at Merle Logan Field. The women’s gold-medal match will be at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, followed by the men’s gold-medal final at 3 p.m.

Just Posted

The Nanaimo sign at Maffeo Sutton Park could be hazardous for children, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nanaimo sign will cause falls

Children can’t resist climbing on sign, says letter writer

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomy by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above seasonal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above normal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Heat wave will see Nanaimo temperatures rise 5-10 degrees above normal

Sun with highs of 28 C forecast by Environment Canada for Harbour City on Sunday and Monday

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read