Vancouver Island University’s soccer teams know it’s the playoffs that are most important.
But in the ever-improving B.C. Colleges’ Athletic Association, it’s tricky just to make it to the playoffs. So these first games matter.
The men’s and women’s Mariners teams start the 2011 campaign Saturday (Sept. 10) with games in North Vancouver against the Capilano Blues.
The VIU men, defending champions of the Canadian Colleges’ Athletic Association, know the path back to nationals starts with the very first match.
“People talk about last year a lot and our focus is again one game at a time,” said Bill Merriman, coach of the M’s. “Because this is the hardest, just to get out of the BCCAA. So that’s where all our focus is. Every game is tough and it’s getting tougher every year.”
It’s the same in the women’s division, said M’s coach Anup Kang.
“It’s a very strong conference,” he said. “We need to get results right off the get-go.”
Mariah Robinson, one of the team captains, said Saturday’s opener will “set the tone” for VIU’s season.
“They are one of the main challengers in our pool and that game is going to [determine] who’s going to be chasing who,” she said.