The Quest University Kermodes women's soccer team may have been road warriors last year but early into the 2013 Pacwest season they've already established Kermode Field as a tough place to play for the opposition.
The Kermodes only won twice on home turf last year but the team equaled that mark after one weekend with wins over Douglas College on Saturday (Sept. 7) and the Kwantlen Eagles on Sunday (Sept. 8).
Martina Franko, the team's head coach, said she was pleased with the team's ability to battle back against Kwantlen. Quest fell behind twice to the Eagles and answered the bell both times. The Kermodes dominated the second half and Franko said her team played smarter.
“We moved the ball quickly and our tactics came through in the second half,” she said. “We didn't play our game in the first half and our game is moving the ball quickly. Defensively we pressured and used a high press – that really changed the game for us.”
Quest fell behind in the first five minutes to Kwantlen but Gabby Villasenor struck back at the 10-minute mark to even up the game. A scary moment occurred minutes later when forward Tanner Batchelor injured her knee and needed assistance to get off the field. The Eagles scored three minutes later but Franko said the team rallied behind Batchelor's injury.
“I think they were fighting to get the game back for her,” she said, noting she had to help Batchelor off the field. “It was quiet for a bit but the girls fought for her.”
The Kermodes evened the game up again moments later when Daniella Smith, who came on to replace Batchelor, booted one home. The first half ended with the teams tied 2-2.
Quest controlled the game in the second half and it turned out to be the Mari Tarleton show. She scored what was the eventual game winner on a great individual effort early into the second half and had several chances to add to the lead. She also set up her teammates for scoring opportunities a number of times but the Kermodes settled for the 3-2 win.
Tarleton also scored the game winner against Douglas College on Saturday in the Kermodes 2-1 win. Batchelor scored the team's other goal.
Franko said the team is already battling injuries but said she likes the team's depth.
“It's a bad loss to lose Tanner [Batchelor],” she said, noting the team has five starters out with injury. “But we played with a lot of starters off of our roster this weekend. Our depth won us two games this weekend. It's nice to have that confidence in everybody. We played everyone against Douglas and against Kwantlen played everybody but one person so it goes to show that we can use our depth to win.”
It was a different story for the men's team, as they only managed one out of a possible four points but head coach Jonas Worth said his team got better as the weekend progressed.
“I was only happy with one of the four half's this weekend,” he said, stating the team was at its best in Sunday's second half. “We have a lot to work on but this weekend was reflective of early season hiccups and jitters.”
The Kermodes fell behind early to Kwantlen on Sunday and had difficulties breaking through the Eagles midfield. Worth said he switched up his tactics in the second half and it paid off when J.B. McEown tied the game. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with Quest surviving a late flurry from the Eagles in which they hit a pair of crossbars from in close.
“There was something missing in the first half – which was talk and aggression on the ball,” he said. “They were beating us to every ball but the second half was a different story.”
McEown was also the only Kermode on the score sheet on Saturday's 3-1 loss to Douglas College. Worth said the second year player has looked good early on.
“He's made the most improvement on our team from one year to the next,” he said. “Even his ability to get a yellow card here and there says how much he cares – although he's got to be more careful as he's now got two yellows in two games.”
Both teams will hit the road next weekend with games against Capilano University on Saturday (Sept. 14) and VIU on Sunday (Sept. 15). Worth said he will be away at a wedding next weekend and will leave the team in the hands of assistant coach Chris “John” Laxton.
For more information on the teams, visit www.questkermodes.ca.