The Vancouver Island University Mariners are the PacWest Provincial women’s soccer champions after defeating the Douglas Royals 1-0 in the gold medal game Saturday evening.
With the victory, the Mariners – with Comox Valley players Katie Rodgers and Chloe Gummer on the roster – are off to Nationals to represent the PacWest conference. Despite taking home silver, the Royals’ season isn’t over yet. They will be joining the Mariners at Nationals as a wildcard team.
The defending champion Royals came into Provincials as the number one seed, hoping to add a second gold medal in as many years. The Royals were riding high after beating the Capilano Blues in the semifinals 2-1 on Friday night.
That momentum wasn’t enough for the Royals to hold off the Mariners though, as midfielder Madeline Dawson opened the scoring with what would prove to be the game-winner in the 29th minute.
The Royals came out of the half with determination, consistently driving the ball into the Mariners’ end and sustaining pressure. The final few moments were tense for both sides, as the Royals desperately tried to find the tying goal, forcing the Mariners to weather the storm hold off the rally.
Despite a furious push at the end, the Royals fell short and the Mariners rushed onto the field victorious at the final whistle. Mariners’ goalkeeper Emily Rowbotham kept the defending champs off the scoreboard, and was awarded player of the game honours.
This is the Mariners’ second gold in the past few years, and third medal. They took home the Provincial title in 2014 and earned silver in 2015.
With gold medals in tow, two VIU Mariners took home additional honours. Rachel Jones was named tournament MVP. In addition to her gold medal player of the game award, Rowbotham was named to the All-Star team as top goalkeeper.