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Blues women chase repeat soccer championship on home turf

The Capilano University women’s soccer team will shoot for their second straight PacWest soccer title Oct. 29 and 30 at West Van's Mulgrave School.
Sophie Pather makes a play for the Capilano Blues in a match against the Langara Falcons during the 2022 PacWest soccer season. | Paul Yates / Vancouver Sports Pictures

The Capilano University women’s soccer team will get a chance to go for back-to-back provincial titles on home soil when they host the PacWest Soccer Championships this coming weekend, Oct. 29 and 30.

Last year the Blues women claimed their first championship since 2007, scoring a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over the Douglas College Royals to win the title and a berth in the national championships. That’s a sensation that the Blues are hungry to taste again, according to Lauren Grey, a team co-captain and graduate of North Vancouver’s Carson Graham Secondary. Now in her second year with the team, the defender wants more gold after helping the Blues win a title in her rookie season.

“To be able to be a part of that and see how much it meant to all the girls and to Dennis [head coach Dennis Kindel], it was awesome to be a part of,” said Grey. “It was such a grind – so yeah, we gotta do that again this year.”

Grey is part of a strong contingent of homegrown North Shore players pushing the Blues on their path back to the championship final.

The list includes second-year goalkeeper Megan Thitchener, an Argyle grad who was thrust into a featured role after her goalkeeping partner Sabrina Lam was injured in a collision in September. Lam is now back, forming a formidable tandem in goal. 

Other key North Shore players include Alanah Dulong, a fourth-year midfielder and Seycove grad who is a two-time PacWest allstar; Mya Fraser, a third-year defender from Argyle who has a knack for scoring headers, placing her among the team’s leading scorers; Sophie Pather, a rookie midfielder from Sutherland Secondary who has seen big minutes in her first year; and Handsworth grad Aynsley Hurtado, another midfielder who has played a major role as a regular starter.

“It was awesome to join the team and see those names, because a lot of them I have known of and really, really wanted to play with for a long time,” said Grey, about the North Shore players joining together on the Blues after years playing with and against each other in the club and high school systems. “It’s cool to be friends with them and play alongside them.… Representing the North Shore as well is so cool, because I’ve grown up here my entire life. Just being able to represent them and have lots of family and friends out at games has been awesome.”

Grey is hoping there will be a decent contingent of North Shore soccer fans at the championships, as all games will be played on the artificial turf at West Vancouver’s Mulgrave School. The Blues traditionally played their home games on the grass field beside the university’s Centre for Sport and Wellness, but this season they moved their home field to Mulgrave to take out the unpredictability of a grass surface. The move to Mulgrave has made for a faster game, swapping out the slower grass field and large playing surface at Capilano for a smaller artificial turf field at Mulgrave.

“We’ve been able to utilize the small field to our advantage a little bit,” said Grey. “I’m excited to be on a field that we’re really familiar with and that we’ve had a lot of success on, and then also just hopefully getting a lot of fans out as well.”

The Blues and Royals will be joined by the Vancouver Island Mariners in a three-way fight for the championship this year, with all three teams posting strong records in the regular season in the four-team PacWest league. Second place Capilano will play third place Douglas on Saturday (Oct. 29) at 1:30 p.m. at Mulgrave, with the winner moving on to face No. 1-ranked VIU in the championship final Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Grey said it will be challenging for the Blues to score a repeat championship, but she’s confident the team has the ability to win at all again.

“It’s going to be tough, obviously – it always is – but I think we can totally do it. We’ve beaten every team in this league this year, so it just kind of comes down to on the given day, who wants it more.”


On the men’s side, Capilano finished fourth and did not advance to the PacWest championships.

Top-seeded Langara College will play the winner of No. 2 VIU vs. No. 3 Douglas in the men’s final Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at Mulgrave.