The calendar has turned to April. Classes are slowly coming to an end, and exams are just around the corner. But the beginning of school’s final month also marks the end to another year of varsity athletics for the VIU Mariners. It was another successful year for the Mariners, as every Mariner team picked up a medal at the provincial level. A few teams even managed to pick up medals on the national stage. With the school year coming to a close, it’s time to recap the seasons of the VIU Mariners teams.
The men’s soccer team got off to a hot start to the PacWest regular season. The team went undefeated through their first 11 games of the season, picking up nine wins and two ties over that span. The Mariners outscored their opposition 22-7 over that span. The Mariners finished the season slowly, winning only one of their last four games of the season, but still finished as the top team heading into the Provincial Championships. In the Provincials, the Mariners advanced to the finals, but lost the gold medal game to Douglas College in penalty kicks. The silver medal in the provincials allowed Mariners to advance to the National Championships. The Mariners put on a strong showing at the Nationals, advancing all the way to the Championship game. In the National Championships, the Mariners battled back against the host Sheridan Bruins, twice tying the game in the dying moments. The game went to penalty kicks, where the Bruins came out on top, giving the Mariners the National silver medal to go along with their Provincial silver. The silver medal at Nationals marked the third time in four years the Mariners have medaled at the event.
The Mariners’ women’s soccer team had a successful campaign. The Mariners split the first four games of the season, but then caught fire, losing just one of the team’s final 11 games. The Mariners’ offense was lethal throughout the season, especially over their final 11 games when VIU outscored their opponents 25-3. The Mariners finished the regular season with a record of 11-3-1, which gave them first place heading into the Provincials. The Mariners continued their strong play at the Provincials, capturing the gold medal with a 1-0 victory over the Langara Falcons. The Mariners opened the Nationals with a 4-0 victory over the Medicine Hat Rattlers, but lost their final two games to finish outside the medals. The Mariners’ 11 wins during the regular season was one more than the previous three years combined.
The women’s volleyball season got off to a rough start, as the Mariners were forced to forfeit the first four games of their season because of an ineligible player ruling by the league. But after a 0-5 start to the year the team started to pile up victories, winning 14 of their last 16 games. VIU finished the regular season in third place in the standings with a record of 16-8. The Mariners continued their hot play in the Provincials, picking up a stunning come-from-behind victory over the Camosun Chargers to capture the gold medal and advance to the National Championships. In the National Championships, the Mariners won the opening match against Mount St. Vincent. But the Mariners lost their semi-final game to the Cégep Garneau’s Elans in four sets before dropping their final match of the tournament to the Camosun Chargers. The Provincial gold medal for the Mariners was the team’s third in four years. The last time a VIU women’s volleyball team failed to medal in the Provincials was 1994.
The men’s volleyball team had a strong season. VIU finished the season in third place in the standings with a record of 15-9. The Mariners were one of the hottest teams in the league to start the season, picking up victories in nine of their first 12 games. VIU spent most of the season on the hunt for one of the top two spots in the standings, but lost four of their last six games to finish six points behind Camosun, who picked up the second spot. In the Provincial Championships, the Mariners won their opener against the Capilano Blues, but fell to the Chargers in the semi-finals. After the loss to Camosun, the Mariners defeated the Columbia Bible College Bearcats to capture the bronze medal. The medal ended a successful season for the Mariners, in which they improved on their 10-14 record from last season and captured their third provincial medal in four years after losing in the first round last year.
The men’s basketball team dominated their opponents at times throughout the season. VIU finished the season in first place with a record of 20-1. The Mariners outscored opponents by 545 points throughout the 21 games. The team broke the school record for points scored in a game twice, scoring 121 against Columbia Bible College on February 20 before breaking that record by scoring 136 the next night at Kwantlen University. VIU captured the gold medal at the Provincial Championships by defeating the Langara Falcons 82-76, who beat the Mariners in the gold medal game in each of the last two years. After winning the Provincials, VIU moved onto the National Championships, where they defeated the host Mohawk Mountaineers 92-88 in the semi-final to advance to the gold medal game. The Mariners fought hard in the gold medal game, but ultimately fell 66-60 to the Humber College Hawks. The silver medal at Nationals was the Mariners’ second National medal in three years.
The women’s basketball team entered the season with some extra pressure on their shoulders, with the National Championships set to be held in Nanaimo. The Mariners had a strong and consistent regular season, finishing second with a record of 16-5. The teams’ longest winning streak during the regular season was seven games, which included five victories on home court. The team lost their semi-final game at the Provincials to Douglas College, but captured the bronze medal with a 57-44 victory over the Camosun Chargers. The Mariners entered the National Championships as the seventh seeded team in the tournament and dropped their first tournament game in heartbreaking fashion to Holland College. The Mariners were also defeated by the Quest Kermodes in the second game of the tournament, but finished their season with a victory over the Mount Allison Mounties to end the tournament in seventh place. The bronze medal in the Provincial Championships marked the fourth straight year the Mariners have medaled in the event. This was also the fifth straight season the Mariners finished in the top two in the standings.
It was another successful season for the Mariners in team sports, with each of the six teams picking up medals. Three teams won gold medals in Provincial Championships, while five teams advanced to the National Championships, two of them capturing silver medals. It was another successful athletic year for the Mariners, who will once against capture the PacWest aggregate award for having the best overall athletic performance. With the Mariners’ proud history of athletic success it’s safe to say that the Mariners will be in contention for the aggregate award again next year.