Katie Rodgers, second from left, receives flowers at her final home game for the VIU Mariners women’s soccer team. Photo supplied

Katie Rodgers, second from left, receives flowers at her final home game for the VIU Mariners women’s soccer team. Photo supplied

Comox Valley midfielder will be sorely missed at VIU

Katie Rodgers and her VIU Mariners teammates came up short of a third PACWEST (Pacific Western Athletic Association) soccer championship in four years, but won the bronze medal match on the weekend in Squamish.

The number four seed VIU lost 2-1 Friday to the top-seeded Douglas Royals, who went on to win the tournament in a penalty shootout over Capilano. On Saturday, the Mariners won the bronze medal by winning a penalty shootout after a scoreless regulation match against Langara College.

VIU defeated Douglas in last year’s gold medal match, reclaiming the championship they had won in 2014/15. Rodgers, a central midfielder from the Comox Valley, was a big part of both championship teams. She is graduating this year from the Nanaimo school.

“Katie has been phenomenal this season,” women’s coach Kevin Lindo said. “On the field she is a leader, with tremendous ability going forward and tough in the tackle. Off the field, Katie is a true role model to the rest of the team. From taping up wounds on teammates to giving team talks, Katie has been crucial to the team. She will be sorely missed as she graduates this year.”

The Mariners finished the regular season with a 4-3-5 record. Lindo said the team had a slow start to the season as he tried some different systems and styles of play.

“We have eight new players so it has been a transitional year and takes time to gel,” he said.

Rodgers was selected a PACWEST conference all-star for the season, as was teammate Drew Murray of Powell River. Courtenay’s Chloe Gummer and Cassidy Chamberlin were also on the Mariners. Chamberlin was a backup keeper and Gummer a striker. Lindo says Gummer has “great potential” and has been a mainstay in the attacking lineup, notching four goals this season.

The top-ranked VIU men’s soccer team lost Saturday in penalty shots to the host Quest Kermodes, who lost 3-0 to the Douglas Royals in Sunday’s final. Mariners striker Jordan DeGraaf of the Comox Valley opened the scoring at the seven-minute mark of Saturday’s game, which was 2-2 at the end of regulation.

The Mariners lost 5-1 to Capilano in the bronze medal game.

DeGraaf was named to the conference all-star team.

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