Eagles focus on rematch against Huskies

Fri, Nov 13, 2015

by Nick Pevato

Montreal, Q.C. – The Kwantlen Polytechnic University Eagles men’s soccer team fell 2-0 to Champlain College Saint-Lambert on Friday afternoon. 

The Eagles were unable to knock off the championship hosts, who had home field advantage.  KPU will now play tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ET/ 6 a.m. PT against Keyano College for the fifth/sixth place match. 

“If you don’t score, you can’t win,” head coach Srdjan Djekanovic said. “The other team defended really well and they hit us with counterattacks.”

Not 24 hours removed from a heartbreaking national semifinal loss to conference rivals Capilano, the Eagles struggled to find momentum today. 

“I think we were a little bit drained out,” captain Nawaf Binsaleh said.  “We were so frustrated about what happened last night, especially since it was against our rivals.”

The game MVP for the Eagles, Omar Bakhamis, echoed his captain’s same message.  “We came all the way here from Vancouver to win the gold medal.  We started off beating Keyano, who were expected to win the tournament, but then we were unlucky with some chances against Capilano and here we are.” 

Last night, the Eagles gave up two early goals within the first 10 minutes but they showed much more poise in the early goings against the Cavaliers.  Smart passing and good possession gave them the early edge, but a counterattack goal by Alexandre Garceau gave Champlain the lead. 

Garceau’s strike in the 21st minute seemed to take some wind out of the Eagles’ sails.  They began to struggle and their possession in the midfield dwindled.  The teams would enter the break with the score at 1-0.

It was another blustery and rainy day in Montreal and both teams were happy to get warm in the dressing rooms before retaking the field for the second half. 

The Eagles’ bid for a comeback became more elusive when Garceau scored another goal against the run of play in the 66th minute.  Meanwhile, KPU regular season goal leader, Mateo Serka, suffered an injury in the previous game versus Capilano.  His tenacity around goal was missed, as the Eagles were unable to find the net this afternoon. 

Thus far, KPU has scored three goals in three games.  Two of them have come from penalty kicks with Binsaleh successfully converting his two attempts.  The only goal in open play came from Serka in the first match and KPU’s struggle to score has been detrimental.  “Besides the set piece (penalty kick) goals we have scored on, we haven’t been able to score in open play this tournament and that has been the difference,” Djekanovic said. 

The format of the CCAA tournament is demanding.  Each team plays a minimum of three games in four days, and some, like the Eagles, are playing four in four.  Fatigue and injuries have been a main theme for KPU during their time here in Montreal.  “It’s really hard playing that many games,” Bakhamis said.  “Especially for us since it is four in four.  We don’t have that one-day break in between which would have made it so much better.”

KPU now has a rematch against the Keyano College Huskies, the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference champions from Fort McMurray.  The Eagles defeated the Huskies 2-1 in the CCAA tournament’s quarter-final game on Wednesday night.  It was the first loss all season for Keyano, and the Huskies will be looking to exact some revenge on the Eagles after they ended their perfect season. 

“We know they (Keyano) will be hungry to avenge their loss,” Djekanovic said.  “I think our guys will show their character though.”

The attitude in the Kwantlen camp has stayed positive throughout the tournament, both in good times and bad.  “Regardless of what happens, this has been a great experience,” said Bakhamis. 

Darren Stolz, KPU’s athletics co-ordinator, agreed: “KPU is in the top of the country for collegiate men’s soccer and that is a huge accomplishment for our men’s soccer program to experience in their first national championship. Our athletes and coaches have worked very hard all season and I know that they are just as proud of their accomplishments as we are.”

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.

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Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
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