Jessica Anderegg (left) of the KPU Eagles battles with a Quest Kermodes opponent during a PACWEST women’s soccer game at Newton Athletic Park. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

KPU men climb into third place, women in fourth

Eagles soccer teams chasing PACWEST playoff positions

The two results were the same, but the first was disappointing while the second was encouraging.

The Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Eagles men’s soccer team played to a 1-1 tie with the Quest University Kermodes Saturday in Newton, then battled the Vancouver Island University Mariners to a scoreless draw Sunday in Nanaimo.

Playing at home and getting an early lead, Saturday’s result was a letdown. But on Vancouver Island Sunday, the Eagles became the first team to take a point from the 4-0-1 (won-lost-tied) Mariners.

“Everyone performed well, everyone put in their shift today (Sunday)” said Eagles head coach Srdjan Djekanovic. “We were well organized and defended from the top to the bottom. Unlucky not to score one or two more this weekend, but this was a team (Vancouver Island) that is hard to score on.”

With the two points, KPU remain in third place in the Pacific Northwest (PACWEST) Athletic Conference, one point ahead of the Kermodes and five behind the unbeaten Mariners.

KPU might have been four points up on Quest had they won Saturday’s game, which looked likely after a fast start. But Quest pulled even on an own goal in the 55th minute, after the Eagles took a 1-0 lead after just 10 minutes of play.

Justin Turner-Pearce tallied for the home team, his third in four PACWEST games.

Rookie goalie David Hicks, a graduate of Clayton Heights Secondary, played well in goal while defender Lucas Rimmer helped limit the Kermodes offensively.

“It was a hard fought match that got off to a good start. Justin got himself into the right position and scored a great goal for us,” said Djekanovic. “The guys did well. It is unfortunate when an own goal puts the other team into a better position.”

The Eagles put forth one of their best efforts of the season in Nanaimo, with contributions from a pair of veterans. Jacob Starheim, a graduate of Seaquam Secondary, in the midfield and Elgin Park Secondary graduate Rimmer on the defense were standouts.

Netminder Ashbir Paul earned the shutout for KPU.

The KPU women’s team earned just one point from the weekend’s two games, playing to a 1-1 tie at home against the Kermodes before Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the Mariners. At 1-3-1 on the season, the Eagles are in fourth place, two points ahead of Quest and the Capilano Blues.

KPU came from behind for the draw Saturday.

The Kermodes beat rookie goalie Simran Meelu in the 38th minute to take a 1-0 lead into the break at halftime. Meelu made several saves, including two on breakaways, to keep the Eagles in the game.

KPU took advantage and tied the game with six minutes to play when Panorama Ridge Secondary graduate Harlene Uppal netted a tying goal.

“The first half was very hard to watch, not because we played poor but because we struggled to implement what we practiced. We have to cut out the mistakes,” said Eagles head coach Julie King. “But I thought we showed tremendous mental toughness to keep going after being down one-nil. They kept going and kept pushing.”

Sunday in Nanaimo, the Mariners scored twice in each half to hand the Eagles their third loss in five games.

The two KPU teams play twice each at home next weekend, hosting the Douglas College Royals on Saturday and the Langara Falcons on Sunday.

Kickoff is at noon both days for the women’s games, with the men starting at 2 p.m.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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