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VIU MARINERS SOCCER TEAMS HEADING TO NATIONALS
SUMMARY: VIU Mariners men's and women's soccer teams looking to bring home some hardware at the CCAA Nationals.
VIU MEDIA RELEASE: Wednesday, October 30, 2019
NANAIMO, BC: Vancouver Island University's (VIU's) men's and women's soccer teams will go for gold at Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Championships.
Stephanie White, VIU Director, High Performance Sport, Recreation and Physical Literacy says very few programs send both their men's and women's teams to the Nationals.
"The success of our men's and women's soccer programs is a direct result of the skill, intention and leadership of our Mariners' student-athletes and the coaching staff," she says.
The women's soccer team defended their championship, defeating the Capilano Blues 6-1 in the finals at Burnaby Lake to win the provincial gold medal.
This is the second-straight Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST) title for the women and the first time in Mariners history the women have taken the title two years in a row.
"Winning back-to-back PACWEST championships is a testament to the team's winning mentality and perseverance," says VIU Mariners Women's Coach Kevin Lindo.
"Looking back on the final game, we didn't actually play our best soccer in terms of retaining possession.
However, as soon as we breached the final third we looked dangerous every time. We have worked on this a lot so we're pleased to see it come together at such a crucial time.
Scoring this amount will give us much confidence moving forward."
The women will be BC's only representative at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships in Edmonton from November 6 – 9. The team is looking to improve on their fifth-place finish last year.
"The team is an inspiring, close-knit group and I hope that is going to give us an extra edge at nationals," adds Lindo.
"We're trying to build a legacy here, something that the community can be really proud of. Expect us to go to Edmonton and look to bring home some hardware. We know it won't be easy, but we're excited and raring to go!"
The VIU Mariners Women meet hosts Seneca Sting in their first match at 2 pm on Wednesday, November 6.
The Mariners men's soccer team took home silver at the provincials, losing the PACWEST final 1-0 to the Douglas Royals. Coach Larry Stefanek says it was a close game and it could have gone either way.
"The team played well for large parts of the game but just could not find a way to finish our chances that we had," says Stefanek.
"I was happy with our overall performance and thought that we did enough to win the game, but sometimes in soccer that happens.
It has been a fantastic season, with a few of our players earning all-star awards and demonstrating they are some of the top players in the league."
The Mariners have a chance to redeem themselves with a wild-card berth into the CCAA national championships at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario, November 6 – 9.
"We are confident that we can have success at the tournament and will be heading to Toronto with that mentality in mind," says Stefanek.
"It is fantastic for our program to be back on this stage after hosting and winning the tournament two seasons ago in 2017."
The Mariners men's team's first match is against the Lethbridge Kodiaks at 9 am, Wednesday, November 6.
VIU Mariners men's and women's Soccer teams are also ending the regular season with an armload of awards.
PACWEST handed out its 2019 soccer awards on October 23, 2019, and VIU student-athletes took home the majority, including Coach of the Year awards for Kevin Lindo and Larry Stefanek.
Shun Takano earned PacWest Men's Player of the Year, Michael Heppelle is Rookie of the Year, Billy Bagiopoulos, Grayson Chalifoux, Diego Corlazzoli and Takano were named to the conferences all-star team.
Lindo says a lot of the new players flourished instantly.
"Taylor is a great example of this. Winning Rookie of the Year she has a huge future as a varsity student-athlete."
Lindo isn't surprised at the all-star list.
"Cara, Chloe, Saki and Kanae all gave us such quality on a consistent basis and I believe maybe we could have had some more players added to this! We showed our depth this year and the fifth years have been excellent leaders throughout."
White says she is proud of what the soccer teams have accomplished so far this season and is excited to see them compete on the national stage.
Photo Caption: VIU Mariner Women PACWEST 2019 Champions
Photo Credit: Vancouver Island University
Annette Lucas, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
P: 250.741.2020 | C: 250.618.7296 | E: Annette.Lucas@viu.ca