BY IAN THORPE
For teams in some leagues, the soccer season extends through the winter months. Such is the case for youth soccer teams in the Harbour City Football Club and also for senior teams that compete in the Vancouver Island Soccer League. But for some others, the season is now over.
Vancouver Island University fielded strong men’s and women’s soccer teams this year in the Pacific Western Athletic Association. The women’s squad posted a 4-3-5 record during the regular season, then went on to capture a bronze medal at the PacWest provincial championships in Squamish at the end of October.
In his first year as head coach for the women was Kevin Lindo. Players on the team were Megan Dial, Shea Battie, Kaylie Rafuse, Katie Rodgers, Chloe Gummer, Harroop Malli, Georgia Nicholls, Drew Murray, Karen Battie, Larissa Stefanek, Maddy Dawson, Rachel Jones, Emily Dreger, Lexi Fawcett, Avril Petri, Zoe Grace, Kate Reynolds, Moira Brown, Alex Demille, Nicole Foglietta and Cassidy Chamberlin.
Meanwhile, the VIU men’s team definitely had a season to remember. The Mariners won the regular season title with a 9-1-2 record, but stumbled at provincials to finish out of the medals in fourth place. However, redemption was at hand due to VIU hosting this year’s Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association men’s national championships last month. With a berth in the eight-team nationals as host team, VIU took full advantage. The Mariners edged Ahuntsic 1-0 in the opener and dominated Northern Alberta 6-1 in the semifinal. That put the locals into the final, where they prevailed 1-0 over Douglas College to claim the national title. For some, the exciting win brought back memories of when the Malaspina Mariners men’s team captured the CCAA national title back in 1983, guided by coaches Mike Armstrong and Les Malbon.
For this year’s championship team, Bill Merriman was head coach, assisted by Christian Granvoinet and Craig Glennie. On the roster were players David Turkstra, Colin Knight, Miguel Banting, Aly Adib, Luke Holmes, Ben Robson, Stephen Ewashko, Victor Blasco, Andres Algarin, Russell Lederer, Stefan Cukovic, Jeff Travis, Peter Cooper, Niko Cristante, Jamie Taylor, Joel Harry, Govinda Innes, Fernando Fenollosa, Hussein Behery, tournament all-stars Ryan McCurdy, Jordan de Graaf and Chris Merriman and tournament MVP Shun Takano.
The season is also now over for high school boys’ soccer teams, with a pair of squads from Dover Bay Secondary having noteworthy success. The junior boys’ team from Dover placed second at North Island playoffs. Iain Baird and Randy White coached players Tenzin Clegg, Aidan Hodges, Rylan Irving, Feliks Maghakyan, Evan Rumley, Fraser Van Allen, Mick Van Der Bunt, Gibeom Bae, Dawson Blackfoot, Nathaniel Schmidt, Dylan Johnson, Luis Martinez, Tim Ohlert, Connor Nelson, Tayson Brunt and Fransisco Garcia.
Iain Baird was also coach for Dover’s senior boys’ soccer team that won the North Islands this year, then finished second in their pool at Islands. Representing their school were players Finn Bodnar, Delano Burtini, George Butterly, Jordan Khakh, Ryunosuke Koinuma, Martin Lwyn, Travis Martin, Cullan McPhillips, Aurgha Das, Graham Dimos, Rhys Ekland, Colton Goldsbury, Nathan MacGougan, Matt Milburn, Candan Nixon, Juan Rubiano and Alehandro Cuevas.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair and show good sportsmanship.