Michaela Slinger & Paris Rosenthal
The Kermodes’ varsity soccer players arrived early on campus this August to get acquainted with new players and coaches, get in game shape, and prepare for the intense 12- game season ahead. With only five teams competing in the PacWest Division, four teams will qualify for Provincials at the end of October, with two earning a spot at Nationals.
The odds of Quest making it to Provincials are good, but thus far winning has been easier said than done. Both teams must step it up on the pitch to clinch that playoff spot.
“It’s the closest that we’ve ever been [to Nationals], and selfishly, it’s my last year,” said fourth year centre-back and co-captain Dominique Glavina. “Seeing Nationals so close and not getting there…it’s not even an option for me.”
Chris Sergeant is the women’s team’s new coach. They currently sit last in the league with one point and a record of 0-3-1 (three losses, one tie). “Right now, our games have been lacking,” said rookie goalkeeper Rikki Logan. “I don’t think it’s skill, or that one team is better than the other…it’s just mentality.” For Glavina, this pattern is all too familiar. “It’s the same story that it’s been for the past two years: we don’t have enough players, and a quarter of our team is injured,” she said. “We’ve had a slow start, which usually we can afford, but now every game from here on is make or break.”
Third year centre midfielder and men’s co-captain Vikram Puri shares Glavina’s drive. “We’re going to make it,” he said. “This year, it looks like we can compete with every team in our league and get at least a point every game. If we can do that…we’ll continue to bridge the gap to playoffs.”
Alexander Elliott is coaching the men’s team again this year. They currently sit fourth in the league with three points and a record of 1-3 (one win, three losses). This year’s squad is young, said Puri, and lacks the older leaders that he had in his first year. “[The rookies] have to get used to this fast pace of soccer,” Puri said. “They’re adapting really quickly, and the last two games were awesome. The work rate was there…and people are starting to do their jobs.”
Regardless of record, both teams believe that they’re moving in the right direction—both on the field and at an administrative level, with the new coaches and the appointment of JF Plouffe as the new Athletics Director. “It’s a breath of fresh air and [a sign of] backing by the school that they see value in athletics,” said Elliott.
The players feel it too. “We’d gotten pretty complacent by the end of last year,” said Glavina. “Chris really compliments our weaknesses, and we’re learning so much that Craig [Smith, former coach] couldn’t teach us.” Puri also sees positive change. “Last year, we seemed to not be able to score, and not everybody was buying into the system,” he said.
Administration aside, a successful team needs to work together and for each other no matter the circumstances. “The goal is just really to get the best out of each other,” said Elliott. “If we can just rally around each other, and ask for the very best every second when we step on that pitch, then the common goal can be as high as we want to be.”
Make sure to come out on October 6 when the Kermodes taken on the Capilano Blues at home—women play at 5:30pm, men at 8:00pm. For schedules and scoreboards, visit www.questkermodes.ca.