by Nick Pevato
Montreal, Q.C. – The Kwantlen Polytechnic University Eagles men’s soccer team defeated Keyano College in the fifth/sixth place consolation game at the CCAA National Championships on Saturday morning.
Ryan Arthur headed home the game winner in the 64th minute and the Eagles would go on to win 1-0. They finished their weekend in Quebec with a 2-2 record, and the distinction of being one of the top fives teams in the entire country.
“This speaks volumes about the character and people that we have on our team and about our program,” head coach Srdjan Djekanovic said.
On an early and frigid morning in Montreal and with no medal up for grabs, KPU’s motivation could easily have been low for the game. But right from the beginning, it was clear that was not the case. The first 20 minutes saw the Eagles keep possession mainly in the Huskies’ half and they created several chances. Also, just like they did against Keyano in their first meeting on Wednesday night, the Eagles’ defenders stood tall against the Huskies’ fast-paced offence.
The teams would enter the break scoreless, but all signs pointed toward the Eagles getting the next goal.
The second half began tentatively for both teams, until the breakthrough was made. Tyler Henderson, who tirelessly patrolled the left flank all game, made a blazing run down the sideline and placed a delicate cross toward Arthur. The 6’3” forward from Vancouver instinctively directed the ball into the goal with his head and the Eagles were finally on the board. Arthur even showed off some celebratory dance moves to the crowd on hand.
“You have to give the team credit,” Arthur humbly said afterwards. “We were making great passes and the goal was eventually going to come. I was just the one who got it, but the credit goes to the team.”
With time now dwindling, Keyano obviously pushed men forward in search for a goal, but goalkeeper David Hicks and his defence foiled the Huskies’ bid again. The game would end on Arthur’s goal and the Eagles would achieve a fifth place finish.
“It feels great,” Hicks said about his clean sheet. He was quick to reiterate the same message as Arthur as well. “It was a team effort.”
Statistically, KPU challenged Keyano in ways it had not encountered through the entire season. The Huskies scored 43 regular season goals, but could only manage to score one against the Eagles in two entire games. Secondly, the Huskies defence had only conceded six goals in the season. The Eagles scored half as many, when they put three in the back of the net across the combined 180 minutes of play. And finally, and most importantly, Keyano had not suffered a loss in any game before entering the CCAA National tournament. KPU beat them twice.
The team’s trip to the national championship in Quebec will live long in their collective memories.
“This is a story I’m going to tell my kids,” Arthur went on to say. Hicks agreed, “I loved this experience, I love Quebec, and for my team in general this was just great.”
Djekanovic summed up his team’s season perfectly at the end of his post-game interview with the media. “Fifth in all of Canada is nothing to shy away from.”
Indeed it is not.
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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