The 2018 Mariners Fall sports season is underway as student-athletes arrive on campus for the preseason.

The men’s and women’s soccer programs will see the biggest change this season as long-time men’s head coach Bill Merriman stepped down last spring after nine years at the helm of the program. Taking on Merriman’s responsibilities is Larry Stefanek, who most recently had been the associate head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Upper Island Academy squad.

The men’s team, which finished 9-1-2 in PACWEST play, hosted and won the CCAA national championship last year. With a new coach, a new home turf (Merle Logan Field), and a myriad of new faces set to hit the pitch, it will be fascinating to see if the club can recapture the heights reached in year’s past. The team starts its season on the road September 8 facing off against the Capilano Blues. The following day (September 9) the rival Langara Falcons host our men’s team in what has historically been a competitive and exciting matchup. The Mariners will host the Langara Falcons September 22 and September 23.

The women’s squad welcomes back several players from last year’s team that were a part of the gritty penalty kick victory over the Langara Falcons to capture PACWEST bronze in last year’s tournament, including senior forward Karen Battie and midfielder Maddy Dawson. Talented freshman recruits Olivia Mazurenko, Cara Dunlop, and Haven Bouma are also expected to contribute to the team this season. Their season also kicks off September 8 against Capilano, followed by another road game against Langara on the 9th.  

In 2017, VIU’s golf team had one of the most thrilling years in the program history, finishing in the top 5 in multiple tournaments; 2018 might be the year that the squad brings some hardware back to campus. The team welcomes back talented sophomore Wyatt Brook, who made significant contributions last season including being named a PACWEST All-Star and two first-place PACWEST tournament finishes. VIU’s season tees off September 8 at Quilchena Golf & Country in the first of three PACWEST tournaments to be held throughout the year. VIU will play host to the PACWEST golf championships, which will be held at Nanaimo Golf Club October 5–7.

September is a busy month for all of our teams and the campus as a whole. With soccer in full swing and the start of the VIU golf season in the midst, it looks to be an exciting fall season, full of plenty of games to watch.