VIU Mariners soccer players A.J. Kambere

VIU Mariners soccer players A.J. Kambere

VIU soccer teams all set for provincials

Vancouver Island University’s men’s and women’s soccer sides head to Burnaby for the PacWest championships Friday and Saturday (Oct. 28-29).

Anything can happen on the soccer pitch, and the VIU Mariners are in position to make things happen at provincials.

Vancouver Island University’s men’s and women’s soccer sides head to Burnaby this week for the Pacific Western Athletic Association championships. Both Mariners teams go in as the No. 2 seeds, with the VIU men slated to take on the Douglas Royals and the VIU women up against the Langara Falcons.

The PacWest has two berths to both men’s and women’s nationals, meaning the Mariners teams just need to make it to their provincial finals to advance.

“It’s a way different way of preparing for a tournament like this,” said Bill Merriman, coach of the M’s men. “It’s a championship tournament and really, you’re putting all your focus on that first game. You should anyways … but with this extra pressure on it, it makes it a real focus. It’s like winning a championship when you win that first game.”

He likes the matchup of facing the Royals. VIU won the season series, two games to one, and the last two meetings were both one-goal games.

“One thing for sure: it’s going to be a great game game,” Merriman said. “Since I’ve been coaching, we always seem to meet them somewhere in the playoffs, whether it be nationals or provincials and it’s always a good game and usually a very close game.”

The coach said he wants his team to stay on the attack against the Royals, mentioning that the Mariners can play too conservatively sometimes. They’re better, he said, when they move the ball around quickly and get everyone involved.

Another storyline will be how the M’s adapt to playing without their star midfielder, Victor Blasco, who suffered a season-ending injury last weekend. Merriman said his team has the depth and talent to handle the adversity, but noted that players won’t be afforded the extra space on the pitch they would get when Blasco was demanding opponents’ attention.

Merriman said his team is ready and looking forward to this next stage of soccer.

“This year we were a little up and down, but the players knew the level that we could play,” he said.

VIU women will play with heart

The Mariners women might be more heavily favoured to advance to the final. VIU had a tie and then two wins against the Falcons in that season series, and what’s more, the most recent meeting was a 6-0 road win for VIU. But the Mariners won’t get too ahead of themselves.

“Langara’s a very good team, well-coached,” said Anup Kang, coach of the M’s women. “We need to stay in the moment and play in the moment, because when it comes to provincials, anything can happen.”

The coach said playoffs will bring a different level of intensity, but he pointed out that his players will be prepared for that because they’ve been there before.

Kaylee Dodds, VIU veteran, said the soccer changes in some ways when provincials begin, as the games are more competitive, the intensity rises and 50-50 balls are harder to win. At the same time, she wants her team to keep doing the things it’s been doing.

“We’re just going to go forward and push as hard as we can…” said Dodds. “Working as a team, playing for each other and playing with our hearts and just putting it out on the field and see where we get.”

GAME ON … VIU’s women play Langara at 12:30 p.m. and VIU’s men play Douglas at 3 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 29) at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

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

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

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

“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

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Most Read