VIU going into playoffs on top

The Pacific Western Athletic Association provincial soccer championships start Friday (Oct. 24) in Squamish.

VIU Mariners player Peter Cooper

VIU Mariners player Peter Cooper

The VIU Mariners have been the best team on the pitch all season long.

Going into provincials, they’re good enough to win it all, but there are never any guarantees in soccer. An unlucky bounce, a teensy mistake or a gust of wind could be all it takes to turn a game.

“The big thing for us is to get the players to play as simple as possible, but how they know how to play,” said Bill Merriman, coach of VIU’s men’s team. “Play safe, but play aggressive.”

Anup Kang, coach of the women’s side, said his players have earned the bounces that have gone in their favour.

“We’ve worked hard and the luck has gone our way at times and that’s all we’ll ask of them, is to keep working hard and play our game,” he said.

The Pacific Western Athletic Association provincial championships start Friday (Oct. 24) in Squamish. Vancouver Island University’s men (10-2-3) and women (11-3-1) both clinched the top spot in their respective tables, so the ladies play the No. 4-seeded Kwantlen Eagles in the semifinals Friday night and the guys take on the host Quest Kermodes in their semi on Saturday afternoon.

“Our preparation has been good, I think, and hopefully we can use this week to get things ready and go for it,” said Merriman.

The stakes in the semifinals are massive. B.C. has wild-card berths at nationals, meaning that if either VIU team wins its semifinal game, it gets to go to the Canadian championships.

“That first game has definitely been all our focus,” Merriman said.

VIU’s women will try for the same pinpoint concentration. Kang said he wants his Mariners to just play the game, and put aside the fact it’s the playoffs.

“They’ve been really focused in staying in the moment, and I think that’s a big part of why we’re successful this year,” Kang said.

All it will take is more of the same, and maybe a little extra, but the Mariners have positioned themselves for success.

“We are really confident…” said Victor Blasco, M’s striker. “We are a team that works every minute. I’m really excited. I think we can do great.”

Just Posted

An event on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Tuesday to remember the 215 children whose remains were confirmed buried in unmarked graves outside a Kamloops residential school. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Canada’s racist systems cannot ever be forgiven

Teen letter writer from Nunavut calls for truth and reconciliation

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read