Vancouver Island University Mariners player Hussein Behery

Vancouver Island University Mariners player Hussein Behery

VIU soccer lineup filled with skill

The VIU Mariners have assembled perhaps their greatest collection of talent for the 2016 PacWest season, which gets underway this week.

VIU’s men’s soccer program is always among the best, but this year, more than ever, it’s practically an all-star team.

The Mariners have assembled perhaps their greatest collection of talent for the 2016 Pacific Western Athletic Association season, which gets underway this week.

“On paper and even on the field in training, it’s probably the best technical, skill-wise team that we’ve had at VIU,” said Bill Merriman, the team’s coach. “That doesn’t mean anything’s given to us, that’s for sure, but it is nice to see we have a lot of depth this year.”

The most significant addition is the return of winger Victor Blasco, who starred with the team two seasons ago before joining the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 side.

“We have some very exciting players,” Merriman said. “If one player gets too much attention, like Victor Blasco, then some other players … can attack from a different angle.”

The coach said VIU has so many attacking midfielders that it changes the team’s game plan.

“We’re definitely a very attacking-type team and we’ve got to work on making sure that we get back to defend,” Merriman said. “We’re not used to being that way – usually we hold the fort and we keep scores real low.”

Mateo Kostering, VIU defender, said the team will play fast soccer with a lot of offensive focus, so there will be pressure on the back end to lock down.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “We have a lot of talent, it’s just making sure we listen to what the coaches have to say and put together a good system.”

The team added two more international players, Shun Takano and Filip Jaric, which puts them over the limit and so they’ll need to rotate the lineup. Takano is an exciting athlete who surprised the Mariners with his calibre of play and Jaric was a walk-up tryout player who earned a spot.

Strikers include Andreas Algarin, who is playing more aggressively of late, reliable scorer Billy Bagiopoulos and playmakers Liam Wirth and Taylor Arbour.

Joining Blasco in the midfield is Stephen Ewashko, who rejoins the M’s after years away travelling. Miguel Banting is a workhorse on the unit and Colin Knight will assume a more defensive role.

Kostering and Jeff Travis are the team’s leaders from the back end, with Aly Adeeb and Russell Lederer other contributors.

David Turkstra is the new goalkeeper and has looked solid.

All told, the Mariners should be an intimidating opponent for the rest of the PacWest squads.

“We’ve never had that kind of scoring power that teams are going to actually have to take note of when we come on the field, and our pace and technical ability that we do have, it will change how teams look at us,” Merriman said.

GAME ON … The M’s open the season Saturday (Sept. 10) on the road against the Douglas Royals, then visit the Langara Falcons on Sunday. The first home match is Sept. 17 against Capilano.

Just Posted

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Tilray announces new line of products offering more inexpensive choices for medical cannabis users. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo-based Tilray launches new medical cannabis product line

Symbios brand products offered at ‘better price point’ for medical cannabis products

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

The B.C. Ministry of Education has announced close to $44 million for the province’s schools for COVID-19 recovery. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school stakeholders say COVID-19 recovery funding can make a difference

B.C. Ministry of Education announces it expects a ‘near-normal’ return to class in September

Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to repair sewage pipe in the Hammond Bay Road area, which was corroded by gas. (Black Press file)
Corroded sewer pipe along Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay Road will cost $5.5 million to fix

Pipe replacement and reinforcement part of $6.9-million infrastructure project

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read