VIU Mariners player Peter Cooper controls the ball during a match against the Indiens d’Ahuntsic on Thursday at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships at Nanaimo’s Merle Logan Field. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

VIU wins its tournament opener on last-minute goal

Shun Takano scores on a penalty kick as Mariners beat Indiens d'Ahuntsic 1-0

It took until the 90th minute, but the VIU Mariners were able to win their tournament opener and advance.

Shun Takano scored on a penalty kick drawn by Jordan de Graaf and the Mariners defeated the Indiens d’Ahuntsic 1-0 on Wednesday at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association championships in Nanaimo.

“I think the team played very well. We showed what we’re made of,” said de Graaf, chosen man of the match. “It was a lot of nerves, obviously, because there’s a lot of pressure on us. I feel like we showed that a bit at times as well. I feel like we should have put that team away. I feel like we dominated them for the majority – they had their moments.”

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Bill Merriman, Mariners coach, said he thought his team played well in all parts of the field, with shutout goalkeeping from David Turkstra, a defence that did its job and an attack that created opportunities.

“Chances were coming – you just have to trust that one of them will turn into a goal and it worked out that way for us in dramatic fashion,” de Graaf said.

His key rush came when he found room up the left side of the pitch, single-handedly beat two defenders and weaved toward the goal before being taken down in the box. He pointed to Takano, who has had great success converting PKs during his Mariners career.

“I have confidence to score, so I get a ball and then just focus to put the ball in the net,” Takano said.

VIU advances to play the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology Ooks in the semifinals Thursday, Nov. 9.

“Now we’ve got to regroup again and get ready for a very good NAIT team that we watched play and they’re very talented, very skilled,” Merriman said.

De Graaf said the Mariners go into the semifinals with momentum after their last-minute victory.

“It gives us belief,” he said. “Until the final whistle goes, we’ll be coming at you.”

GAME ON … The Mariners and Ooks play Thursday, Nov. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Merle Logan Field. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for youths 13-18 and free for children.

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