A fresh season of VIU Mariners soccer is underway with both the men’s and women’s teams taking to the pitch for exhibition action. The VIU Nation could be in for an exciting season if these tune-up games are any indication.

The ladies travelled south to kick off the pre-season, outscoring opponents 6–1 during their three-game road trip. The M’s collected their first victory on Aug. 20, defeating SFU 1–0. The VIU keeper, Shelby Walker, earned a clean sheet while Mariah Robinson notched the game’s only goal in the second half. The Mariners continued their road trip Aug. 22 in Oregon, suffering a 1–0 loss to Corban University in their second match, despite a strong effort.

The offense exploded the following day in a 5–0 pounding against Warner Pacific University. Jessica Burma opened the scoring while Rebecca Williams tallied two goals for the Mariners, her first off a perfect cross from Sharin Kang. Rebecca Weiss and Kang also found the score sheet. Walker and Emily Rowbotham shared the shutout for the M’s.

“We played a complete game today, had a lot of energy, and didn’t give them much,” VIU head coach Anup Kang says. “Finishing was excellent today, we have so much depth this year, and all the players played a ton of minutes during the tour and all played well.”

“I love the focus level of this team, they have worked so hard in the off-season and we can really see the positive results,” Kang says.

Good results are showing on the men’s side as well. The Mariners opened their pre-season with a 1–1 draw against Cowichan on Aug. 21, with Drissa Bouare getting VIU on the board in the first half.

The Mariners dropped their second match 3–0 against Trinity Lutheran University visiting from Everett, Washington, but stormed back the next game to double-up on UNBC 2–0. Bouare tallied another two goals for the M’s, and in his first year appears to be a force to be reckoned with. Robbie Cochrane backstopped VIU to their first exhibition shutout.

The first league home games for both squads kick off Sept. 15 and 16 against the Kwantlen Eagles and Douglas Royals at Mariner Field.

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