Kermodes find silver lining in PACWEST champs

Kermodes find silver lining in PACWEST champs

The air surrounding Quest's soccer fields was so thick with tension last weekend, you could've cut it with a knife.

And it was for a good reason — the school was hosting the 2017 PACWEST Soccer Provincial Championships.

"It was an amazing event," said Jean-Francois Plouffe, the athletic director for Quest when he spoke to The Chief on Monday. "It was a lot of planning. You want your school to show the best colours."

The home field advantage appears to have suited the Kermodes well. The men's team managed to take silver after two days' worth of hard playing.

Saturday's game was perhaps the highlight for Quest, as the Kermodes managed to beat Vancouver Island University 3-2 after a series of penalty kicks.

The game started hard and fast with Mariners player Jordan DeGraaf putting his team in the lead after whipping the ball into net at the seven-minute mark. 

Ahmed Kamal of the Kermodes fired back, tying up the game before the intermission.

Kamal put Quest in the lead later in the game, but Jeff Travis of the Mariners brought the match to 2-2.

At this point, time had run out, forcing both teams to settle their differences with penalty kicks.

Nothing made it past the goalies in the first round, but on the second go Zachary Roberts-Winters of Quest and Stephen Ewashko managed to each score a point, bringing the Kermodes and the Mariners to a draw, yet again. After a scoreless third round of penalty kicks, the Kermodes took the lead in the fourth, with Vikram Puri nailing the ball in the net.

Mariners shooter Shun Takano responded with a goal of his own.

But victory finally arrived for the Kermodes in the fifth round. Yassin Nayel swept the ball behind Mariners keeper David Turkstra.

The Mariners were unable to respond with a goal of their own, allowing the Kermodes to claim victory and move onward to the championship game.

Unfortunately, during that match, the Kermodes' gold medal ambitions were stifled in a 3-0 shutout that favoured the Douglas College Royals. That game was also marred by calls that drew the ire of many Kermodes supporters.

Quest ended up with a red card, which allowed the opposing team to outnumber the Kermodes.

Nevertheless, Quest players were able to grab victories, even if they didn't come in the form of a gold medal. 

In addition to getting silver, some Kermodes players were recognized for their outstanding performances during the event.

Sam Macdonald was named top goalkeeper and Ahmed Kamal was named top midfielder. MacDonald was also player of the game for the win on Saturday.

Plouffe credited the Kermodes' improved performance this year to coach Alex Elliott, who focused the team on adapting to their opponents' playing styles.

"He did his homework and we changed our tactics 100 per cent," Plouffe said.

Instead of working on a few core strategies, Plouffe said, under Elliott's guidance, the team would find ways to pinpoint weaknesses in their rivals and use those as building blocks for game plans.

Plouffe said this has led to tremendous improvement, bringing the team from fourth place contenders to silver medallists. Unfortunately, a rash of injuries prevented the women's team from qualifying for last weekend's event.

"Our women's Kermodes had a fantastic season but ended up with too many injuries," said Plouffe.

Article from The Squamish Chief