Right before playoffs is the right time to find playoff form, and that seems to be happening.
The Vancouver Island University Mariners men’s soccer team played at a high level Saturday on the road, edging the tough Douglas Royals 2-1.
“[It] was the best game we’ve had all year. I think we were quality. It was good footy to see,” said Chris Merriman, a VIU assistant coach.
Shun Takano and Miguel Banting scored the goals in that one and the next day, the Mariners beat the Langara Falcons 3-1 with Takano, Stephen Ewashko and Andres Algarin scoring.
David Turkstra was the winning keeper both days. He came up especially big late in Sunday’s game, as he stopped a shot that looked like it was headed top corner in a one-goal game and his teammates transitioned back all the way to the other side of the pitch to score an insurance goal.
“Everyone was excited and [there was] powerful energy this weekend, so [it was] very good,” said Takano, who was chosen the PacWest Athlete of the Week.
The VIU men (6-3-1) are likely to finish second in the standings, but their final regular-season matches this weekend (Oct. 22-23) will still be meaningful ones. On Saturday, the first-place Capilano Blues (8-0-1) are in town.
“To end their undefeated season this weekend would be the best thing for our boys to get the confidence going…” Merriman said. “But if they run through us and have an undefeated season, meeting them in a final, you don’t want that.”
The M’s and Blues play Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Merle Logan Field. On Sunday, the Quest Kermodes visit at 2:30 p.m.
VIU women looking to surge into playoffs
The VIU Mariners bounced back in a big way, giving them bounce in their step as they prepare for playoffs.
Vancouver Island University’s women’s soccer team, after falling 3-0 to the Douglas Royals on Saturday on the road, won 6-0 the next day against the Langara Falcons, a team ahead of them in the standings.
“We had a team meeting and we wanted to make sure that we got back on the right track,” said Anup Kang, VIU coach. “We were always confident, I didn’t have any doubts with that, but it’s always nice to put the ball in the back of the net.
Katie Rodgers, Chloe Gummer, Rachel Jones, Moira Brown, Kaylee Dodds and Carli Rey scored and Emily Rowbotham earned the shutout.
“It was a great starting point, now, carrying us to the end of the season. So we’ve just got to keep it going,” said Jones, the team’s captain.
The playoff-bound M’s (3-2-5) could still move up or down, depending how the final regular-season games go this weekend (Oct. 22-23).
“It doesn’t matter, really, where we finish now,” Jones said. “It’s just a matter of how we’re playing and how we’re connecting as a team and how we play as one team.”
The M’s host the Capilano Blues on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Merle Logan Field, then play the Quest Kermodes on Sunday at noon at Merle Logan.