After an unfortunate road trip to Prince George, the Kwantlen Eagles’ men’s team returned home to face Quest University’s Kermodes on Friday, Feb. 4, a team they’d never lost to at home. Coming into the game the Eagles had lost seven straight, bringing their record to 1-11 for the season.
The 2010-’11 basketball season will be the last for Bernie Love, the head coach of Kwantlen’s men’s team, who announced his resignation last week.
Love, who has coached the team for nine of the past 12 years, said his reasons for leaving were personal, and had nothing to do with the team’s poor record: He is moving to Trail to be closer to family.
“It wasn’t an easy decision. If I was not moving back there, then I would be back,” he said, explaining he had made up his mind several weeks ago.
When Love broke the news to his team, he was met with an “expressionless” response.
“They’re a bit of a quieter group. Not a lot of them said anything,” he said. “Maybe when the season’s done, then the goodbyes will come.
“I think that the last Saturday night will probably be a little bit tough.”
According to guard Doug Meyers, the silent reaction on the team’s part may have been for less-obvious reasons.
“There’s definitely a player-coach tension. It may not show, it may not come out in front of the team, but guys talk: It’s just the nature of the game,” said the second-year student.
“The problem here that I have most with Bernie is there’s a lack of accountability and perceived caring on his part and it leads to the team.
“Things that come from the coach definitely effect what goes on on the floor. I’m not going to say that it’s 100 per cent the coach, that it’s 100 per cent the players, it’s definitely a combination.”
The Eagles have suffered through nothing but losses since late November, a combination of poor shots and missing links on the players’ part; a lack of accountability and cancelled practices on the coach’s, according to Meyers.
He said that while the Love gave him “a lot of confidence” to be able to grow as a player and reach his potential, he didn’t follow through with his high expectations for the team.
“Talk the talk, walk the walk. In my opinion, Bernie’s a talker. It sucks to say, I haven’t seen a lot of walking,” he said.
On a personal level, Meyers went through what the team as a whole is struggling with.
When he was in Grade 9, he knew he loved the game; he also recognized that he “sucked.” But he confronted his coach with the goal in mind to be the team’s star by Grade 12. He was playing on the provincial team by the end of high school.
“I understand what it takes to get to that level [and] I just haven’t seen it here,” Meyers said.
Despite the effects of the coach’s “negative undertones” on the team, according to Meyers, Love is able to acknowledge part of the tension and focus on the positive.
“There’s wins and there’s losses,” Love said. “Obviously we’d like to be doing a lot better than we are… I don’t call this a waste of a year at all.”
Despite only picking up a single point this season, Kwantlen men’s soccer coach, Ajit Braich, says that there are a lot of positives his team can take away after his first year in charge.
The Eagles finished at the bottom of their division with a -34 goal difference. But Braich, who has spent over 25 years coaching professionally, has his eyes and mind on the future.
“It was a difficult season. I didn’t realize we’d lose by as many goals, but we are such a young team. However, with the signs that we left on the field, with other schools, the coaching staff and the athletic directors, is that we are on the right road and we are trying to build a program over two or three years,” said Braich.
With majority of the roster consisting of first-year students, the men’s team was labelled inexperienced. The average age of the team was just over 19 years, and the team was in the midst of a shift.
“It was just a matter of these young players growing up from a youth mentality to an adult mentality player-wise. That was the biggest thing. I think every game they got better and went further with that transition,” said Braich.
However, the head coach is scouting for some experience to add some depth into his squad.
“We’re looking to recruit better players and experienced players out there who aren’t getting playing time with other schools. I’m hoping we’ve painted a picture were people want to come to Kwantlen. That was my intent. We want to bring some players back, but we don’t want to stop recruiting,” said Braich.
The main cause of concern this season was the Eagles back line, which conceded 51 goals over the 12-game season.
“We are going to definitely recruit two or three defenders. That was one of our drawbacks. We didn’t have defenders in depth. So I had to stick with what I had. That is a priority,” said Braich.
With the 2010 BCCAA Provincial Championship being hosted by Kwantlen, the men’s coach said it was a shame they couldn’t make the cut.
“They could have showcased their abilities in front of a home crowd. So that was disappointing, knowing that we were at home. But having said that, it was almost a brand new year for us. We had very little to build on from last year,” said Braich.
“The primary goal now is to start looking to get those Ws by hard work and not just ability. It’s not just ability that will get those. We’ve got to learn how to grind results or keep results and next year’s goal could be that we make the provincials.”
Both of the Kwantlen soccer teams played their final home games of the season, against the Capilano Blues, on Oct. 17 at Newton Athletic Park.
Just like last year, the men’s team couldn’t wait for a dreadful season to end, while the women’s team was set to play in the provincial championships, which are being co-hosted between Kwantlen, Capilano and Langara.
Going into the match, the women hadn’t lost in three games, and were hoping to extend that run.
They were also sitting in second place; four points behind UBCO.
On the other hand, the men’s team was struggling before the match, only picking up one point so far this season.
They had only scored seven goals in nine matches going into this encounter with Capilano, including a streak where the team went over 450 minutes without scoring.
As winter approaches and the temperature outside plummets, people begin searching for ways to keep a little warmer without cranking the thermostat up and spending their hard-earned money.
Some choose to wear more layers. Others share body heat. Some even try the warm-clothes-right-out-of-the-dryer method.
But for men, there is always one tried-and-true solution: facial hair.
What better time for some facial hair than November: not only do you get the extra warmth, but it coincides with Movember, a prostate cancer awareness campaign.
While the Movember idea isn’t new, there are few people who know the reason behind it. The idea is for men to raise awareness of the risk of prostate cancer by growing moustaches and raising money for prostate cancer research through donations.
In order to gain more publicity for the cause, the KSA has put together its own Movember team, led by team captain, Chelsea Campbell — the KSA’s club and events coordinator — and KSA marketing and communications coordinator, Nathan Griffiths.
So far promotion for the team has been limited but should pick up following the Oct. 28 Halloween costume contest.
“We are looking for donations to come in over the month of November,” said Griffiths. “We’re going to try to pick a comparable school and beat them [in total donations].”
So far the KSA’s team, aptly named the “Hairy Lipped Eagles,” has 13 members and has only $50 worth of donations but they are looking for more support.
There will be a Movember dodgeball tournament held on Nov. 19 between 2 and 7 p.m. The KSA is looking to get at least six teams of three for the event, with a minimum $30 donation per team, said Griffiths.
As well as the tournament, the KSA and the GrassRoots will donate all Nov. 25 sales from people with a moustache, real or fake, to Kwantlen’s Movember team.
“There’s also our Facebook campaign, trying to get people to update their profile picture every day as their moustache grows in,” said Griffiths.
If you would like to join or donate to the KSA’s Movember team you can do so at the Kwantlen team site.
The brand new turf field at Newton Athletic Park was used for the first time when both Kwantlen soccer teams played against UNBC on Sept. 12.
But even though the pitch has been deemed ready for play, there is still construction going on around the field.
The stands, which will hold 500 people, have yet to be installed, along with a change room for officials, who are currently using an empty shipping container.
The original plans were for construction to be complete by the end of the summer, but it seems that the field needs a few more weeks for a final touch-up.
Rookie centre midfielder Vickey Parhar is all smiles about the Eagles new home.
“I think it’s great. It really shows that Kwantlen is really putting money into their athletics and showing their support in the teams,” said Parhar.
According to Parhar, the money was well spent by the university, and the delay doesn’t bother him too much.
“No, I didn’t think so. Stuff doesn’t usually go according to schedule. Yeah [I’m a little disappointed], because I wanted to see a lot of fans out.”
Newton Athletic Park will be the venue for the 2010 BCAAA Provincial Championships from Oct. 29-31, and all will be hoping that the project will be complete.
Kwantlen invested a little over $1 million in the field, which was priced at $2.85 million.
If you want to find Didar Grewal, look no further then the gym at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Surrey campus.
This gym is home to the Kwantlen Eagles, who open their regular season campaign on Nov. 3 and Grewal is the newest shooting guard on the men’s basketball team. The 18-year-old Tamanawis graduate is entering his first season with the team and has great ambitions for this season.
“I work out six days a week,” Grewal said, “everyday except for Monday’s because I have three classes that day.”
Pushing himself physically is nothing new to Grewal. He has been playing basketball competitively since he was in Grade 6 and was never pushed by anyone to practice.
“Shooting around is for my own benefit, so I shoot all the time,” Grewal said.
“My high school coach Aman Heran has been a big influence on me. I go to him for advice and he has always pushed me hard.”
The hard work is paying off: Grewal is tall and athletic, the muscle in his arms, shoulders, chest and legs are well defined, and he barely breaks a sweat even after 20 minutes of shooting around.
The transition from high school basketball to college hoops is never easy for anyone, even a two-time winner of the male athlete of the year award at Tamanawis Secondary in Surrey.
“At a higher level the players are all good. It is the best players from every team in high school playing together,” Grewal said, “The tempo and speed are higher and players are stronger as well.”
The speed, strength and conditioning of the players was evident when Grewal played with the Kwantlen team against the Division 1 NCAA school Idaho State.
“It was a good experience for me and the team,” Grewal said. “They were faster and stronger then us.”
Grewal hopes that Kwantlen can become a stepping stone to a higher level of basketball. He is aiming to play in the CIS next year as a 19-year-old after only one season of playing college basketball.
“There’s an expectation,” says Gordon Smith, the new head coach of the Kwantlen Eagles women’s soccer team.
As a new season gets under way for the team there are high expectations. Last season, the team used penalty shootouts to power their way to a provincial title and a bronze medal finish at the nationals, the first national medal of any kind for Kwantlen.
But with only seven players from that championship team returning, it isn’t going to be easy and youth will be the highlight of the new squad.
The biggest hole for the Eagles to fill will be the 24×8-foot net at their end of the field. Last year’s starting goalkeeper, Amelia Ng, was the not only the team’s MVP, but also the provincial tournament’s MVP for her performance in the playoffs.
Filling Ng’s net will be new rookie recruit, Melina Gomez.
“I love it. Mo’s [Monivoi Vataiki] a good keeper, so I’m excited to be starting. I just have to keep practising hard and hopefully I’ll keep the starting position.”
Smith said they have challenged the other keepers to battle hard for the starting role but Gomez should continue to start for now.
Gomez looks to be just one part of the new youth movement for the team, which has 10 rookies on the roster. But, like any good team, the Eagles will rely heavily on their veterans to guide the team. That starts with their captain, defender Brittany McNeill, who looks to play an even larger role with the team this year.
“The returning players have a great work ethic and a great attitude and they want to win,” said Assistant Coach Joan McEachern, who has been with the team since 2003.
Both McEachern and Smith are confident of the team’s chances of success this year but are quick to point out that it will be no easy task, as there are a lot of good teams in the province.
“I was just thinking about that the other day: Who has repeated in the last four years? No one. It speaks volumes to the parity in the league,” said McEachern.
The last team to repeat as provincial champs was the Langara Falcons in ’06-’07. After becoming the first Kwantlen team to win a national medal, the Eagles are confident going into the ’10-’11 season.
“I think that everyone’s goal is to get to Nationals again… and see if we can catch lightning in a bottle again,” said Smith.
By Kyle Vinoly
It was a tense fourth quarter for the Kwantlen Eagle’s Women’s basketball team, as they defeated the Quest University Kermodes of Squamish 62-59 Friday. After dominating the first half of their match-up against Quest, competition heated up and the game came down to a nail-bitting final two minutes.
“Into the fourth quarter, we stopped playing defense,” said Eagle’s guard Emily Wright, who played 37 minutes and drained one of the trio of three-point shots made by the Eagles. “We always play well for the first three quarters and then the fourth quarter we don’t do well.”
Eagle’s coach Gary Pawluck said that the girls have had many close finishes this year but thinks it’s helped make them a better team.
“We came out with real intensity today,” said Pawluck. “We missed a few easy shots in the second half, and [Quest] stepped up and made some good shots.”
The women also faced off against Quest Saturday, in an attempt to secure a spot in the B.C. Provincial Championships. (Results will follow.)
“I don’t think anyone ever picked Kwantlen to make the playoffs, ever,” said Eagles forward Shmyla Thandi, who posted 11 points in the night and secured a double-double, getting 10 defensive rebounds. “It’s exciting, it motivates me for the next game.”
By Kyle Vinoly
A high-pressure free throw from Eagle’s guard Mike Davis sealed a win for the Eagle’s in the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter of their Friday game against Quest University Kermodes of Squamish 65 to 64.
The Eagle’s were ahead by 10 points at the end of the first quarter but the men from Quest fought back in the second and third quarters. The lead changed 12 times before the Eagles finally won, 65-64.
The Kwantlen women’s soccer team has signed four new recruits for next season’s team.
Hilary Andow, Melina Gomez, Tiffany O’Krane and Norma Sheane have agreed to play for the Eagles in the 2010-’11 season.
Andow went to R.C. Palmer Secondary in Richmond, where she played midfield and forward for the Griffins. She won the school’s Top Athlete award in Grades 8, 10, 11 and 12. She already has two years of collegiate soccer under her belt, and head coach Vladimir Samozvanov expects her to be one of the team leaders in the coming season.
Gomez is Kwantlen’s newest goalie and she has provincial and national soccer experience. She also won Athlete of the Year in 2007 at her high school, Carson Graham in Vancouver.
O’Krane is a midfielder/defenseman from Fleetwood Park Secondary in Surrey, where she won Athlete of the Year and MVP on her soccer team Grades 8 through 11.
Sheane is no new face to Samozvanov. He’s coached the defensive player in the past and is excited to have her join the Eagles this year. She was a member of the U18 Burnaby United, which was a 2009 national finalist; the U17 provincial championship team; and the U17 Las Vegas Tournament champions team in 2008.
Samozvanov feels that the new players will add to the squad’s style of play.
“The main goal in recruiting for me was to replace graduated players and add new dimension to the team’s play,” he said. “The [overall] goal is to build a strong team, which we were able to do for the past two years, and we want to keep the momentum going.”
Kwantlen’s 2009-’10 team won the school’s first-ever provincial title and the first national medal, with a third place finish at the Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association national tournament in Ontario.