by Nick Pevato
Montreal, Q.C. – On a rainy night in Montreal, the Kwantlen Polytechnic University men’s soccer team fell 5-1 to Capilano University.
KPU will now face Champlain College Saint-Lambert on Friday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. ET/ 9:30 a.m. PT.
“It was just one of those days,” head coach Srdjan Djekanovic said. “The best team doesn’t always win.”
After a physically and emotionally draining quarter-final win over Keyano College Wednesday night, the Eagles faced a two-goal deficit early when Bruno Fieri-Marinho and All-Canadian Kristian Yli-Hietanen found the back of the net at the fifth and seventh minute, respectively.
“It was a tough blow,” forward Ryan Arthur said about the two early goals. “We had to stay composed, and after I thought we played some good soccer. But sometimes it’s just not your night.”
As the first half went on, KPU found some of the rhythm that made them victorious in their first game. In the 25th minute, a handball in the Capilano box would award the Eagles with a penalty kick. For the second time in as many games, Nawaf Binsaleh stepped up and converted his kick. His second goal of the tournament would cut the lead in half.
However, just before the break, Capilano would strike again off a set piece. Fieri-Marinho would get his head on a curling free kick from Kamyar Amini and the Blues would enter halftime with a 3-1 lead.
As the second half began, the weather became far from ideal. The light rain and wind from earlier in the day turned much harder and stronger and the conditions seemed more suitable for Vancouver, rather than Montreal.
“When it’s rainy and windy like this, anything can happen,” Djekanovic said.
Any hope of a comeback for the Eagles was dashed when Yli-Hietanen picked up his second of the game in the 47th minute. A clever through ball sprung the forward on net and he slotted it home between the legs of KPU goalkeeper David Hicks. The Blues’ rookie won the PACWEST scoring title after bagging eight goals in 14 games.
The game would not end without further incident. Lucien Kessler would add one more for the Blues, while KPU’s Anthony McCullough was given a red card in the 60th minute for contact with Amini’s face. The Eagles would finish the game with 10 men.
It was the fifth meeting between the two conference foes this season. They split the season series with a win, draw, and a loss each, before Capilano bested KPU in the conference final 2-0. On that particular day, the Eagles had to stand and watch the Blues celebrate at Langara College field. Twelve days later and nearly 5 000 kilometres away, they again had to watch their North Vancouver rivals celebrate.
The tournament is far from over for the Eagles and now they turn their attention toward the host team, Chaplain College Saint-Lambert. The Cavaliers won the Réseau du sport étudiant du Quebec (RSEQ) regular season title with a 6-1-1 record. However, in the RSEQ playoffs, they were knocked out of the semifinals by Montreal-based Ahuntsic College. The Cavaliers would go on to lose the bronze medal game as well, but were guaranteed a CCAA tournament spot based off their host status.
After being decimated in their opening game 6-0 by Humber College, the Cavaliers exacted their revenge against Ahunstic earlier today. Now with both teams having 1-1 records, KPU and Champlain will battle it out to stay in medal contention. The hosts expect a boisterous crowd.
The winner tomorrow will move on to play for the bronze medal, while the loser will be relegated to the fifth/sixth place matchup early Saturday morning.
“Tomorrow is a big game,” Arthur said. “We want to make it to the bronze medal game and bring it back to B.C.”
Kwantlen Polytechnic University has served the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 200,000 learners. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs in business, liberal arts, design, health, science and horticulture, trades and technology, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 120 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, citations and apprenticeships.Learn more at kpu.ca. kpu.ca.