NANAIMO — The VIU Mariners basketball teams are perfect after their opening weekend.
Both the men's and women's teams recorded a road win at Camosun and a home victory against Okanagan.
It's early in the PACWEST season but both squads have been on the court since late September, including playing some exhibition games against league rivals and American colleges.
Men's coach Matt Kuzminski says he's already got a good read on his team.
"I like our versatility, I like our balance this year. We play fast, we play together. It's been fun so far and we just have to keep getting better.
In 2017-2018 the men's program was dominant.
They led the PACWEST with a 17-1 record and received plenty of accolades including a Coach of the Year selection for Matt Kuzminski and Usama Zaid being named Player of the Year.
The Mariners hosted provincials but lost out to Douglas College in the gold medal game.
Kuzminski believes he has a championship calibre team this season as well.
“Our vision for the season is to win the national championship but it's all about focusing on the day to day process of how we're going to get there,” Kuzminski said.
The women's team is coming off a 13-5 season that included a run to the bronze medal game at PACWEST provincials.
Coach Tony Bryce says the 18-19 version of the Mariners has a lot of returning talent, and he says those veterans put in a ton of work over the off season.
“We'll play hard and I want us to be the best defensive team in the league,” said Bryce. “But I think we've got enough offensive weapons that we can break you down. I anticipate we're going to be a high scoring team.”
Bryce says the women's squad has a strong group of veterans including three fifth year players Emma Platner, Emily Clarke, and Victoria Brown.
“They're fired up,” said Bryce. “They're working hard and they're great leaders. They want this season to be memorable and you can tell by what they've done in the off season and the energy they bring to the team on and off the floor.”
Mariners basketbll practice from November 7
This weekend the Mariners go on the road to play in Capilano on Friday and Douglas College on Saturday.
Matt Kuzminski on the men's matchups:
Tony Bryce on the women's matchups:
On Friday the games go at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. and on Saturday the Mariners play at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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