The Vancouver Island University Mariners men's soccer team needs to rally after letting five points slip through their fingers on the weekend.
The M's tied UBC-Okanagan 1-1 on Saturday, but then lost 2-1 to Thompson Rivers University on Sunday, At Merle Logan Field For Both Games.
The tough weekend allowed the Langara Falcons leap frog them for the final Pacific Western Athletic Association playoff spot with just three weeks to go.
Playoffs loom even larger this year, as they are provincial hosts with no bye to get them there.
"You always want to play in provincials but when they're at home that makes it even more of a target to play in," said head coach Bill Merriman. "With us, we've been to nationals the last three times, so we already have a target on our back. Adding the extra pressure of climbing into that third or fourth spot is adding extra pressure on us, for sure."
Perhaps serving as encouragement, Merriman thought they deserved a better fate than the one-point weekend they ended up with. Star mid-fielder Farhad Abdulgani scored their goal in their tie on Saturday and Nick Moore scored on a second-half penalty kick in Sunday's loss.
The defeat to TRU was highlighted by Abdulgani's red card heading into the half, leaving VIU down a player for the final 45 minutes and trailing 2-0. The red card means Abdulgani will be out for this weekend's home-and-home series with the
Capilano University Blues. He is just one of three suspensions the Mariners are dealing with as both Braidy Morrow and Renan Rebelatto are out due to accumulated yellow cards.
It is a trend they are must stop if the three-time Canadian College Athletic Association medallists are going to get back into the playoffs.
"With a new team like this, they want to play with that energy," said Merriman.
"But they still need to learn the discipline part of playing with that type of energy and that fast pace and how easy it is in this league to all of a sudden have three yellows and you're sitting a game."
VIU will also likely be without captain Dan Cato, who is out with injury and has missed the last three games.
This means they are going to have to lean on their young players like Moore, Keegan Lang and Ben Robson even more while hoping Mateo Kostering continues his strong play.
"On the positive side, it seems the players are getting grittier and are working harder and harder," said Merriman. "I think it's making them gel a little bit more together too, because they are playing under a little bit more adversity."
They are in North Vancouver on Saturday to play the Blues at 3 p.m. and then host Capilano at Merle Logan Field on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Mariners are in fifth place in the PacWest with 11 points, two behind the Falcons for fourth place. Capilano is in sixth place with seven points, with no wiggle room left.
"Six points are what we need or it's going to put us in a bit tougher shape, for sure," said Merriman.
The VIU women are in a precarious position. They too are in fifth place, but they have just seven points on the season after being shutout 2-0 by UBC-O on Saturday and 4-0 by TRU on Sunday. They are eight points out of the last playoff spot.
They also have a home-andhome with Capilano, playing in North Vancouver on Saturday at 1 p.m. and at Merle Logan on Sunday at noon.
Island Top Team earns four provincial golds Island Top Team earned fur gold medals and two silvers at the B.C. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu championships at Revolution MMA academy in Langley on the weekend.
Eli Wyse earned two of those golds. He submitted his way to the title in the middleweight no-gi division and then added a second championship in the gi blue-belt division, competing up a level.
Local fighters Gary Gilbert and Ty Son met in the featherweight gi white belt final with Gilbert winning a close match on points. He submitted his way to the goldmedal bout.
Gilbert also added silver in the no-gi division.
Cal McDonald brought back the fourth gold medal in the nogi medium heavyweight division.
Redmen rebound to beat Meadow Ridge Knights The Nanaimo Redmen improved to 3-1 in Vancouver Mainland Football League midget action, beating the Meadow Ridge Knights (1-4) 13-0 on Sunday in Cowichan.
The Redmen were coming off a 31-13 loss to the North Delta Longhorns (4-1) last week.
They host the Victoria Spartans (2-3) this Sunday at noon at Pioneer Park. The Redmen are 1.5 games behind the Cowichan Bulldogs (5-0) for first in the league.
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