VIU Mariners Women's Soccer PACWEST Provincial Champions

Congratulations to VIU Mariners women's soccer for winning the 2016 PACWEST Provincial Championships.

November 3, 2016 - 1:45pm

VIU Mariners win the crown in hard fought battle against defending PACWEST champions Douglas College Royals 

After a hard fought year the 2016 PACWEST women’s soccer season came down to a fierce battle between Vancouver Island University Mariners and the defending champions Douglas College Royals. The Mariners scored early in the Oct. 29 matchup and managed to protect their 1-0 lead to become this year’s PACWEST women’s soccer champions.

Their success came thanks to a superb defensive strategy and the disciplined play of veteran Mariners goaltender Emily Rowbotham, who was awarded player of the game for her effort.

“In the last few moments of the game Douglas was pressing forward and they created a few good chances for themselves,” said Rowbotham. “I wasn’t too worried though. I know we are talented defensively and play well under pressure – especially in such a close, important game.”

Rowbotham was named player of the game and was also chosen to backstop the All-Star team as top goaltender. Now in her final season with the Mariners, she will be graduating this year with a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in First Nations Studies. She plans to return to VIU to complete her Education Certificate and become a teacher.

“Every time I step on the field wearing the Mariners jersey I’m proud. Because this is my final year of play it means so much more knowing I have a limited number of games left. I’m just taking in each moment right now and enjoying my time on the field,” said Rowbotham.

Winning a championship isn’t about one victory. It’s the culmination of a season of hard fought battles, heartbreaking losses and clinch wins. Nobody knows that better than the Mariners women’s soccer coach Anup Kang, who has coached the team for the past 10 years. Along with the 2016 championship, Kang was also awarded PACWEST Women’s Coach of the Year.

“I’m honoured to be selected PACWEST Coach of the Year,” said Kang. “There are great coaches in the conference but for me it’s really a team award. My assistant coaches deserve a lot of the credit.”

As for winning the championship Kang says many different factors came together for the team this year. Two new rookie central defenders, Harroop Malli and Nicole Foglietta, joined the team and exceeded expectations. He says that mix of new players combined with the guidance and leadership of veteran Mariners players like Rachel Jones, who was named Player of the Tournament, was a recipe for success.

“Our two new central defenders came in and played in the toughest positions. These young players have grown so much during the season and are a big reason for our success in winning the championship,” said Kang. “We have great leaders who have led by example on and off the field. They work so hard and set the standard for the young players.”

Being crowned 2016 Champions doesn’t mean they get a break just yet. The Mariners women’s soccer team is heading to the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association (CCAA) Women’s Soccer National Championship in Montreal, November 9-12, to represent the PACWEST conference. Kang says everyone on the team is looking forward to the challenge.

“We are playing our best soccer of the season heading into Nationals. If we stay in the moment and play the moment we’ll be fine,” said Kang. “We were drawn into a real tough group of three top teams so we can't get ahead of ourselves. The key is to focus on our first game against host school Ahuntsic College. If we play to our strengths I know overall, we have a real good chance to get a positive result.”

Rowbotham agrees with her coach, saying if the team continues playing where they left off they will be a force to contend with.

“We are playing our best soccer and are willing to win games no matter what. It will be against tougher teams that we have never faced before, but that can also work to our advantage because they don’t know what we are capable of,” said Rowbotham.

PACWEST provincial women’s soccer champions will be celebrated at VIU on Friday, Nov. 4, during the Mariners men’s basketball team’s game against Douglas College at 8 pm. At halftime a ceremony will take place to honour the Mariners women’s PACWEST champions.



Dane Gibson, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

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Tags: Athletics