Sunday’s game was a bit of calculated risk for Quest’s men’s soccer team against visiting Vancouver Island University.
The Kermodes are vying for a final playoff spot, trying to stave off Langara, so coach Alexander Elliott wanted his team to gamble a little against the second-place Mariners.
“Again, I think it’s an opportunity to increase our point gap,” he said.
For a while in the first half, it looked like it might work, when forward Jeremy Monn took a stretch pass and buried it in the back of the VIU keeper David Turkstra’s net to knot things up at 1-1.
Late in the first half, though, the Kermodes gave up two quick goals, including one off a strange deflection, which widened the visitors’ lead to two.
Early in the second half, Quest looked like it might get back some momentum, but a long ball off the crossbar was as close as the team got, as the visitors cruised to an easy 5-1 victory.
At the other end, Quest keeper Sam MacDonald was kept busy as VIU continued to press as the game wore on. In particular the defence has little answer for midfielder Bill Pagiopolous, who scored four of the Mariners’ goals, including a couple of highlight-reel dekes.
Elliott knows his Quest is young and stocked with freshmen trying to get into the playoffs, but he is confident his team can use the loss as a chance to learn.
“It’s a tough result, but it’s a great reset.”
The coach did not expect to grab points against VIU, so he wanted the team to approach the visitors like they had nothing to lose, especially at this point in a short season when they have five games left to try to wrap a playoff berth.
“Certain times in the season it’s worth taking a lot of risk,” he said.
On the women’s side, the rebuilding Kermodes are still searching for their first win, and despite being outmatched by VIU, also second place in the women’s bracket, the team managed to eke out a 2-2 draw.
At times in each half, the Kermodes were on their heels, constantly at risk of coughing up the ball, but the back line and keeper Rikki Logan held up for the most part, and the team managed to convert a late penalty kick to nab a couple of points from the Mariners.
Elliott is optimistic about many of the recent developments at Quest, such as the new athletic director, J.F. Plouffe, new women’s soccer coach, Chris Sargeant, new men’s basketball coach, Alex Van Samang, and the recent makeover of the soccer field. He sees it as a sign of the commitment of the university to its student-athletes and the athletic programs.
“We’re all quite excited about what the future holds for athletics,” he said.
He also sees a bigger role for Quest in the Squamish community and hopes to see more come out to watch the athletes.
“We’d love to see the locals come enjoy the games, especially the youth,” he said.
On Saturday, the men’s team hosted last-place Langara and despite many chances were held to a 1-1 draw, while the women’s team lost 3-1 to Langara.
The Kermodes play at home again Thursday night, as Quest hosts Capilano. Start time for the women is at 5:30 p.m. The men play at 8 p.m.