The rain was pouring, the fog was shrouding, the dance music was bumping and the girls were screaming.
An impromptu dance party took over in the middle of Quest University Field on Saturday (Oct. 27) and for good reason — the Quest University Kermodes women’s soccer team had just defeated the Langara Falcons 1-0 and captured the bronze medal at the Pacwest provincial soccer tournament.
It marked the first-ever medal win in the history of the school, a feat not lost on Quest’s Mari Tarleton, who scored the Kermodes’ winning goal.
“It’s a pretty big deal for us,” she said. “And it’s especially nice for us to win it on our home field.”
Tarleton scored just before the end of the first half to give the Kermodes the lead and they hung on for the remainder of the game to win the bronze. Falcons goalkeeper Carissa Harriman kept Quest at bay, preventing both Tarleton and Jamey Horth from scoring on several glorious opportunities.
“It felt awesome to win,” said Kermodes captain Jessica Freeman. “We really clicked in the first half and I think we went out there and played like we had nothing to lose.”
Both Freeman and Tarleton admitted that they would have preferred to grab a gold medal, but they were pleased to be a part of the first team in school history to win a medal at the provincials.
The Kermodes made a few lineup changes after losing 4-1 to the UBC-Okanagan Heat on Friday (Oct. 26), including going with Tianna Gilchrist in goal instead of Friday’s starter Taylor Shantz. Gilchrist was solid between the pipes, making a number of strong saves and smart decisions en route to the shutout.
“T has become really solid and it’s just really nice to have someone with her confidence back there,” Freeman said.
Freeman also praised the efforts of coaches Martina Franko, Craig Smith and rookie coach Ben MacGregor.
“The coaches have been really awesome for us this year,” she said. “Ben’s like a buddy to us, but he really pushes us as a coach. He’s been a great fit for the staff.”
The women’s gold-medal game on Saturday saw the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Wolfpack pick up a 1-0 win over UBC-O. The tournament’s most valuable player, Alana Bekkering, scored just before the first half to secure the win for TRU.
“We always have tough games whenever we play UBC-O,” Bekkering said. “It’s that Kamloops versus Kelowna rivalry that’s always intense and today was no different.”
The win marked TRU’s second consecutive Pacwest women’s soccer title and Bekkering said she felt confident all season long.
“Coming into training I thought we had a really strong team,” she said. “We picked up some really good recruits and our first years have been amazing for us this year.”
Despite winning the gold medal, TRU didn’t start off the tournament the way it wanted to. The Wolfpack trailed Langara 2-0 after the first half on Friday, but then scored five unanswered goals to win in extra time.
“During halftime our coach jokingly told us, ‘Well, we gave them the first half,’” she said. “But we just weren’t playing that well. Luckily we got our game under control after the first half.”
Bekkering and her teammates will now head to Prince Edward Island for the National Championships later this month.
Pacwest officials also named the women’s tournament all-stars which included Bekkering, Freeman, UBC-O Heat goalkeeper Christine Tallon and Heat defender Jennifer Kidd.
Men’s action also started on Saturday with VIU defeating TRU 4-0 and Douglas College beating the Kwantlen Falcons 4-1. The men’s tournament concluded on Sunday (Oct. 28), with Douglas outscoring VIU 3-0 in the gold-medal game. TRU defeated Kwantlen 6-2 to take home the bronze.
Jag Gill from Douglas College was named most valuable player of the tournament and the men’s all-stars included Dillan Fogliato (goalkeeper, Douglas), Dan Cato (defender, VIU), Josan Gagan (midfielder, Douglas) and Sahil Sandhu (forward, Douglas).
Douglas will now move on the nationals, which will be held on its home field in Coquitlam.
Check www.pacwestbc.ca/soccer2012 for more details on the tournament.