VIU Mariners player Rachel Jones

Mariners soccer teams chasing first place

NANAIMO – Vancouver Island University's men's and women's sides won all their matches on Saturday and Sunday.

The VIU Mariners soccer teams finished off their home schedules by sweeping to victory.

Vancouver Island University’s men’s and women’s sides won all their matches on Saturday and Sunday. The women beat the Langara Falcons 2-1 and then handled the Capilano Blues 4-1, while the men also beat the Falcons by a 2-1 score before shutting out the Blues 4-0.

“Our formation’s starting to pick up now and we’ve got an identity of how we want to play and we’re getting more and more comfortable doing that and I’m really happy with the way our team’s playing right now,” said Anup Kang, coach of the Mariners women.

Samantha Rodgers and Jill Kelly scored in Saturday’s win and Jess Burma, Rachel Jones, Kaylee Dodds and and Maddy Dawson scored the next day.

The M’s women are now unbeaten in their last nine matches. Burma said her team has gotten better at forcing its game as the season has gone along.

“Instead of focusing on the other team, we’re just playing our game, working the ball around, playing it on the ground,” she said.

The regular season intensifies this week as the VIU women play their next match on the road against the first-place Douglas Royals. The M’s women are three points back of the Royals, and the two teams have split two meetings. Burma said her team is looking to take the season series and is excited for the matchup.

“They know what’s on the line,” Kang said. “A regular-season title is nice to have in your back pocket. We’ll be ready. This is a focused group; it’s a veteran group.”

Last Sunday’s matches at Mariner Field were the final home games in Nanaimo for VIU graduating players Rodgers, Burma, Sarah Meredith, as well as Chris Arnett, captain of the men’s side, and the veterans were honoured with a jersey presentation ceremony.

“It’s definitely gone by a lot faster than the other ones. It seems like the season just started,” Burma said. “I’ve had a couple injuries in the past and my main focus [this year] was just to have fun and give it my all in my last year. Make it a good one.”

GAME ON … VIU’s men and women are on the road this coming weekend (Oct. 24-25) to take on the Douglas Royals and then the Kwantlen Eagles.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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