Vancouver Island University Mariners soccer player Jill Kelly participates in a drill at practice Saturday evening at Merle Logan Field. It was ‘bad kit day

Mariners women focused for nationals

VIU’s women’s soccer team is in Montreal for the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships, which begin Wednesday (Nov. 9).

Playing focused soccer has become a team strength for the VIU Mariners, and there’s no reason why that can’t continue at nationals.

Vancouver Island University’s women’s soccer team is in Montreal for the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships, which begin Wednesday (Nov. 9).

Nationals can bring a different set of distractions, but the Mariners showed a week and a half ago at provincials that they can win while never letting their focus waver, not even for a minute. The M’s had to be sharp at the PacWest tournament in Burnaby, embroiled in a tie game for most of the semifinal and protecting a one-goal lead for most of the final.

“The games at nationals are going to be pressure-packed, but we’ve been through it … and we did really well,” said Anup Kang, VIU coach. “I thought we stayed focused, didn’t let the moment get to us and just worried about the task at hand. And I don’t think it’s going to be any different at nationals.”

And it isn’t just the mental side of the game that has gotten the Mariners this far – VIU is playing well in all facets. Maddy Dawson, who scored the B.C.-championship-winning goal, pointed out that over the past five games, the team has scored 15 goals and allowed one.

“So basically our scoring has led us to this point, definitely, and our defence is solid,” she said. “We just work with each other, we’re all meshing now and we’re all kind of getting the flow of the game.”

Dawson said the Mariners “have made our way together,” and said that’s what’s brought them this far, more than anything else.

Now, against the best college-level competition in the country, the M’s will see where they can make their way next.

“We’re in a really tough group, but at the same time, I think all four teams that are on our side of the pool are fairly even,” Kang said. “It’s an opportunity for us, if we play our best soccer, we’ll have a chance for positive results.”

First up are the host Indiennes d’Ahuntsic, whom the Mariners will play in Wednesday’s feature game. Kang said trying to get an early lead to take the crowd out of it is a priority for his team. Ahuntsic, he said, plays a vastly different style and formation which makes the first match unpredictable.

Dawson said the Mariners believe the teams at nationals are “really even with each other” and all are capable of playing at a high level.

“So we’re going to come out there and play like we would if it’s our last game,” she said. “We could win 5-0, we could lose 5-0, but we’re going to come out there and play our hearts out.”

The Mariners arrive in Montreal at their best, at their most focused, and pumped up about stepping on the pitch.

“Excited? Oh yeah, after the whistle blew on that last game, I was like, ‘I am so ready [for nationals],’ and we all were,” said Dawson. “We’ve all been heads-down focused on that first game. I cannot wait.”

GAME ON … VIU plays Ahuntsic on Wednesday at Montreal Soccer Stadium at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Community policing office’s closure will impact safety in the area

Strong police and bylaw presence needed in neighbourhood, say letter writers

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch in south Nanaimo

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by police after City of Nanaimo crew found it

RDN Transit to see rollout of 15 new HandyDart buses

Buses will have temporary protective barriers installed to prevent spread of COVID-19

RDN says water in French Creek still potable despite levels of iron, manganese

Strategy to improve water quality being established

United Way distributes $120,000 in federal funding to seniors in need during pandemic

Salvation Army, Eden Gardens, hospice society among groups granted money

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Beefs & Bouquets, May 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Most Read