CCAA championship contender: VIU Mariners
For the Mariners, blue is more than a jersey colour
By Jay Schnell
Vancouver Island University Mariners will be arriving at the men’s soccer nationals wearing blue from head to toe — literally.
Having reached their ultimate season goal of qualifying for the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championship, the players have dyed their hair blue, to match their uniforms.
“That’s a team tradition,” said player Vasilis Bagiopoulos, after his team won last month’s PACWEST conference for the first time in 11 years by defeating the Langara Falcons 2-0. “It’s been happening for years now. We did in 2019 as well.”
The CCAA tournament is in Langley, B.C. on Nov. 9-12.
Confidence is key
Mariners head coach Kevin Lindell said he doesn’t want to divulge too much of his strategy but was confident his team will be arriving at full strength.
“Our team’s oldest strength is our adaptability,” Lindell said. “We are a cohesive unit. We’ve worked hard on that over the last few months.”
The Mariners won the CCAA title in 2017.
Matt Carter, the Mariners’ communications and sports information coordinator, said the team is “really glued together.”
“That’s led to success,” he said.
The player to watch out for
According to Carter, the player to watch in Langley is Bagiopoulos, a 24 year old from Greece.
“He’s Just one of those guys who can do all sorts of high skill plays at full speed,” Carter said.
However, Bagiopoulos attributes the team’s success to teamwork.
“Our team focuses a lot on team chemistry, team building,” he said. “It all starts from our coach, Kevin.”
Except for the hair dye.
“I don’t think I will be doing it,” Lindell said.
VIU will take on the Holland College Hurricanes on Nov. 9 at 10:00 PST.
“I think we have a great chance and hopefully, we’ll do well.” Bagiopoulos said.