The VIU Mariners are going to nationals next month as provincial champions.
Vancouver Island University’s women’s soccer team won PacWest gold today in Burnaby with a 2-0 shutout victory against the host Capilano Blues.
The team’s roster includes local Ladysmith talent Shea Battie, Haven Bouma, Karen Battie, Olivia Mazurenko and Georgia Nicholls.
The Mariners and Blues were tied 0-0 at halftime, but Chloe Gummer scored a championship-winning goal from in close, Maddy Dawson added an insurance goal on a play from the wing and goalkeeper Melanie Osborne and the defenders contributed to keeping a clean sheet. Cara Dunlop was chosen player of the match and tournament MVP.
“We knew what we needed to do and I think we performed the best we could and came out with a good outcome,” said Dawson, co-captain.
Kevin Lindo, coach of the Mariners, said the gold-medal match wasn’t his team’s “most vintage display,” but said games with those stakes rarely are.
“I was just really happy that we were able to pick ourselves up when things weren’t going well and do the job at the end of the day,” Lindo said.
The Mariners scouted the Blues in Friday’s semifinal and knew Cap was a good team with some talented players to watch out for in the final.
“We were extremely excited to start it off – very, very excited,” said Drew Murray, VIU co-captain. “Nerves were super high, but in the best way possible.”
At halftime, the Mariners didn’t make substitutions, deciding to stick with what they were doing but with more discipline in the box, Dawson said. The goals came, the team hung on and got to embrace as champions as time expired.
Lindo said winning was an “incredible” feeling for his team.
“We’ve been working hard for this long year and we’ve set some goals … to be as successful as we can,” he said. “So to look back on that, we’re really proud.”
Murray said she was injured the last time VIU won a championship and so contributing this time was satisfying, but stressed that “everybody’s a part of this win, everybody. To be able to work hard and see our hard work pay off, it was an amazing feeling.”
She said the Mariners are a close group and players “genuinely love each other” and want one another to succeed.
Dawson, who is in her fifth and final year, said she was happy for the younger players.
“Now they know what’s to come and how it feels to win a championship, and I think it’s going to propel the system and keep them going, going for gold,” she said.
The Mariners will be one of two B.C. teams at nationals in two weeks’ time on the Lower Mainland, as the host Douglas Royals will also be participating. VIU will have some time to scout and prepare between now and then, and will go into nationals playing winning soccer.
“Technically, this is one of the most talented groups we’ve had when the ball is at our feet and playing on the ground,” Murray said. “If we connect the way we’ve been practising since last year, I think we’ll have a very good chance. It’s going to be hard, but I think that we have a lot of talent and we can really compete.”
Dawson said the Mariners have veterans who can share their experience from nationals, and also a game plan that’s working.
“I think with the team that we have now, playing possession and knowing how and when to create those scoring opportunities, I think we’ll honestly be really successful at nationals,” she said.
Congratulations to the VIU Mariners women's soccer team, PacWest champions. VIU defeated Capilano 2-0 today in the gold-medal match in Burnaby. Chloe Gummer and Maddy Dawson scored, Melanie Osborne with the shutout, Cara Dunlop player of the game and tournament MVP… #soccer pic.twitter.com/ziYM4TUBH3
— Greg Sakaki (@BulletinSports) October 27, 2018