VIU Mariners fans were surrounded by soccer as the PacWest season got underway.
Vancouver Island University’s women’s and men’s soccer teams both began the Pacific Western Athletic Association season at the exact same time Saturday, Sept. 10, at Merle Logan Field.
The Mariners women defeated the Capilano Blues by a 4-2 score on one pitch, while the M’s men tied Cap 2-2 on the adjacent pitch. At one point in the second half, the VIU women scored a go-ahead goal at almost the exact same moment that the VIU men scored a game-tying goal.
Bobbie Taylor, coach of the Mariners women, said it was a good atmosphere at the field and said her team played well.
“They played some good ball … given that it was our first game, our season opener. It was an exciting game,” she said.
The M’s women led 2-0 but the Blues were able to tie it up before the home team managed a winning goal and an insurance goal late.
“They realize that they did the work during pre-season and they came in fit,” Taylor said of her team. “We have some growing to do as far as managing the game when we’re in the lead.”
Shea Battie, who scored twice for the Mariners, said the opposition forced her team into some adjustments, but generally, the M’s were “spot on” with the game plan.
“We definitely were confident in the beginning and we stayed very calm and collected which is what we really needed,” she said.
Scoring four goals against a quality opponent is a promising sign for VIU’s attack, and the M’s created offence in a few different ways, said Battie, starting from the back, using foot skill in the middle and a lot of speed up top.
“We’ve got many players that can score goals and that are willing and excited to get in the box, the danger zone,” said Taylor.
It was the coach’s first regular-season game on the VIU sidelines in more than 20 years and said it’s exciting to be working with this group of Mariners.
“The coaching staff and the whole team, they’ve bought into our training model. Off the pitch and on the pitch they’re coming together,” she said.
Jade Dillabough and Abby Duncan were the other scorers for VIU.
In the men’s game, Vasilis Bagiopoulos scored both goals for the Mariners.
GAME ON … The VIU Mariners women and men play rematches against the Blues on Sunday, Sept. 11, at Q’unq’inuxwstuxw Field, formerly NDSS Community Field, at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.