VIU men win, women show encouraging signs

The VIU Mariners men's soccer team came up big with two shutout wins on the weekend, and the women's team could be close to a breakthrough.

VIU Mariners player Melissa Orton

VIU Mariners player Melissa Orton

The VIU Mariners men’s soccer team came up big with two shutout wins on the weekend, and the women’s team could be close to its own breakthrough.

Vancouver Island University’s men’s and women’s sides hosted the UBC-Okanagan Heat on Saturday and the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack on Sunday at Mariner Field. The M’s men beat the Heat 3-0 and then defeated the ‘Pack 2-0. The women tied UBC-O 1-1 and fell to TRU 2-0.

Player of the game for VIU in its first win was Jamie Taylor, who scored a goal to put the home team up 2-0. Drissa Bouare and Chris Merriman were other scorers in that game.

In the second game Stephen Ewashko scored on a penalty kick after Bouare was taken down in the box early in the second half, and then Bouare headed in an insurance goal midway into the second half. Defensive player Ben Leggett was man of the match and goalkeeper Robbie Cochrane was solid in earning another shutout.

“I was very pleased to see how our players were able to adapt to two very different styles of play in one weekend,” said Bill Merriman, VIU coach, in a press release.

The Mariners women began the weekend with a gutsy performance against the Heat. It was the visitors who opened the scoring midway through the second half, but the M’s pressed and finally Rachel Jones scored on a header with 15 minutes to go.

“We were focused right from the start…” said Anup Kang, VIU coach, in a press release. “UBC-O is one of the top teams in our conference and the girls really stepped up their game. We played a real strong defensive game and attacked in numbers.”

The next day’s contest against TRU saw the M’s dominate the first half, forcing 10 corner kicks, but they found themselves down 1-0 at half on a strange goal that deflected off a couple of bodies. The WolfPack added insurance on a plodding shot from long range early in the second half.

Kang said Sam Rodgers, Jess Burma and Joanna Geck played well and said his team created its share of quality chances on the day.

“We thought a couple of times we had scored and I don’t know how the ball stayed out, give them credit because TRU is a very good team…” said Kang. “With the way we’ve played the last three games I don’t know how we didn’t come away with any wins.”

GAME ON … VIU’s soccer teams will play each play a home-and-home series against the Capilano Blues this coming weekend (Sept. 29-30). On Saturday the M’s host the Blues, with the women’s game at 1 p.m. and the men taking the pitch at 3 p.m. The following day’s rematches will be in North Vancouver.

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