A bronze medal at the PACWEST soccer championships eluded Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) twice last weekend in Squamish.
The KPU Eagles women’s team fell 2-1 on penalties Saturday evening to the Douglas College Royals, then the men were upset 2-0 by the Quest Kermodes Sunday morning. The results left both Kwantlen teams in fourth place at the provincial tournament, a positive result that fell just short of the podium.
“I think they’ve shown PACWEST (Pacific Northwest Athletic Conference) that we mean business,” said KPU women’s head coach Julie King, “This season was about ‘Can we learn to work together and can we play with heart?’ We achieved that. Team progression, we’ve done well. We’ve seen people step up, seen ladies become better footballers on the field.”
King was one of two members of the women’s team honored with PACWEST postseason awards. She was named Coach of the Year, while defender Jessica Anderegg of Surrey was named to the all-star team.
KPU began the tournament Friday night with a 1-0 loss in extra time to the first-place Vancouver Island Mariners. Panorama Ridge Secondary graduate Gurneet Josan was the Eagles Player of the Match.
In the bronze medal game Saturday, KPU trailed 1-0 until Megan Talaber of North Delta scored with less than 10 minutes remaining. The Royals prevailed 4-3 in the shootout, and Talaber collected Player of the Match honours.
The Eagles men’s team, which finished third in league play, also went to extra time in their semifinal match Saturday morning, but lost 2-0 to Douglas. Seaquam Secondary graduate Jacob Starheim was Player of the Match for KPU.
Kwantlen was blanked again Sunday, with Justin Turner-Pearce of the Eagles named Player of the Match.
“Big progress was made from last season. We built on what we started in terms of building the culture we want around the team and putting focus on creating a cohesive and hard-working unit,” said head coach Srdjan Djekanovic. “We are rewriting the script on what KPU-style soccer should be.”
Two members of the Eagles, forward Starheim and defender Nawaf Binsaleh, were named to the men’s all-star team.