Like Drake’s hit song goes, the Quest Kermodes men’s soccer team started from the bottom – literally.
Prior to 2014, the club hadn’t won a regular season game since October 2011 but on Sunday (Oct. 26) Quest capped off an impressive bounce back season by capturing the bronze medal at the Pacwest provincials.
The Kermodes defeated the Douglas College Royals 2-0 on Sunday but with just a little bit of luck they might have been playing for a trip to the Nationals.
Quest battled the Pacwest regular season champion VIU Mariners to a shootout on Saturday (Oct. 25) but ultimately lost in a thrilling game. Kermodes head coach Alex Elliott said that heartbreaking defeat will prove to be a building block for his team.
“The freshmen, second and third year players that are staying with us will never forget that scenario on their home pitch and it will grow our future program,” he said, after winning the bronze. “This group understood that the loss against VIU was a stepping stone, we have to have some drawbacks to go forward. Experiencing those types of scenarios only makes us stronger for the future.”
The Kermodes opened the scoring on Saturday when Farley Cannon crushed a shot but VIU replied with two straight. Max Tagesen provided some late game heroics again to tie the game in the dying moments and nothing was settled in extra time, which left a berth in the gold medal game up to the shootout.
VIU edged Quest 4-3 in the shootout but the loss didn’t dampen the spirits of the Kermodes said defender Derek McKinnon.
“To be honest we were pretty happy heading into the bronze game,” he said. “The team promised to the six of us graduating that they would play their hearts out and they stepped up. We were pretty loose and just wanted to have fun for our last game together.”
Quest’s Kevin Berna drew a penalty kick in the first half and Zachary Roberts-Winter made no mistake about it to put Quest up 1-0 in the first half and Tagesen scored another late goal to seal the 2-0 victory.
McKinnon, who experienced over two straight years of losing on the Kermodes, said it was a thrill to end off his college career with a bronze medal.
“I’m overwhelmed right now,” he said, following the win. “These guys are such a hard working group of guys and they’ve put their bodies on the line the last two or three weekends for us to get here. We clutched up big time.”
He said the win on Quest’s home pitch is something he will never forget.
“Before I started the tournament I mentioned to the guys that this would probably be some of the best memories I’ve ever had and we pulled through and this probably will be one of the best memories I will ever have,” he said.
Elliott said the six graduating players buying into his system at the start of the year was a huge factor in the turnaround season.
“The leadership of those guys is unbelievable,” he said. “They obviously went through some hardships for a couple years but the willingness of them to change and embrace a new culture is the most impressive professionalism I’ve ever seen.”
McKinnon said the men’s soccer program should have a bright future under Elliott and his staff.
“I’m not worried about the future at all,” he said. “The sky is the limit with these guys and the team will be fine. They’ve figured the league out – we were one penalty kick away from playing for gold. And Alex and Masumi are great coaches and motivators.”
The bronze medal is the first in the history of the men’s soccer program at Quest. Other men’s medal winners included: Douglas College (gold) and VIU (silver). The women’s medal winners were: VIU (gold), Langara College (silver) and Douglas College (bronze).
For a full tournament recap, check the print edition of The Squamish Chief.