NANAIMO — The Pacific Coast Soccer League season was supposed to include some bumps in the road for the Mid-Isle Mariners, but it hasn't worked out that way.
They sit in second place in the PCSL standings with a 5-1-1 record.
In 2016 the Mariners had an excellent season making it all the way to the championship game.
There was alot of roster turnover but manager Bill Merriman says the players are hungry to take the next step and win a league title in 2017.
"We've done well with our players that have come in. They've contibuted alot to our program our U-21, and Div 3 players. Not just the VIU players but some of the players that played in the VISL as well," Merriman said.
Three of those VIU players who have had a strong impact this year are goalkeeper David Turkstra, defender Jeff Travis, and midfielder Shun Takano.
Merriman says newcomer Stefan Cukovic will turn some heads for the university team later this fall, and he's also currently tied for third among all PCSL goal scorers.
"He's been in Alberta and played four years back there. He's been an All-Canadian twice, and Athlete of the Year for his school twice as well so he's a big addition," said Merriman.
The Mariners have put themselves in a good position in the standings but Merriman isn't taking anything for granted heading into the final month of the season.
"Every given week it's a little bit different. Port Moody, Khalsa, Vancouver Thunderbirds, there's a lot of teams that can surprise you. You play some home games and maybe they don't have all of there players then you travel and you see a different team. That's what this league's about though, the rosters are quite large," Merriman said.
The provincials are slated for the end of July and there's still a chance that Mid-Isle could be the host team.
Merriman says there are only two components needed to host the tournament.
"For us we would have to get a host hotel, secure fields, and then play," explained Merriman.
He also wants to ensure Mid-Isle has secured a spot which is looking more and more likely every week.
This weekend the Mariners are on the road Saturday in Penticton to play the 2-4 Penticton Pinnacles.
It will be awhile before the team is back home again.
The next home match is Sunday July 16 also against Penticton.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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