The Vancouver Island University mens Mariners have qualified for the Pacific Western Athletic Association men’s soccer championships which are being held in Nanaimo this weekend.
The Mariners beat out Douglas College 4-0 on Sunday at Town Centre Stadium in Coquitlam to grab the final playoff spot.
In addition, Campbell River product and team captain Dan Cato was named to first team B.C. provincial allstars for 2013.
Cato has been selected provincial allstar all five years with VIU as well as national allstar and top defender awards.
Over his career he has collected three national medal – one of each gold, silver and bronze – as well as four provincial medals – gold and silver.
Another Campbell River product, midfielder Blaze Roberts will also be appearing in the finals this weekend.
Considering the provincial hosts do not receive a bye into the tournament, the last thing the M’s wanted to do was have their string of five-straight appearances end this year.
It is pressure they have dealt with all year, and at times has cost the young team.
They did a lot of learning on the fly the last couple of weeks.
“For a lot of them, it will be their first time at provincials, but at least we had that one game against Douglas to let them know what it is like,” said Mariners head Coach Bill Merriman. “After the loss on Saturday, playoffs had basically started for us, it was single knock out.”
The Mariners will play the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack to open the tournament on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Douglas and Langara colleges will play in the other semifinal at 2:30 p.m.
The men’s and women’s bronze medal games go a 10 a.m. on Sunday with the women’s gold medal game at 12:30 p.m. and the men’s final at 3 p.m.
The Mariners are feeling confident about their chances.
“We know that we are in against some very tough competition, but our goal is to win it, now that we’ve got ourselves there,” said Merriman. “We jumped some very big obstacles just to get there, so hopefully the players can be rewarded.”