Eagles soccer teams begins title defense

October 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Kwantlen women’s soccer team is out to defend their provincial gold as they took on the Quest Kermodes in the provincial quarterfinals Friday.

The team won the BCCAA provincials last year and, led by first-year head coach Gordon Smith and first team all-stars Melina Gomez, Brittany McNeil and Shanay Sangha, finished second in league play this year.

Kwantlen is hosting the provincial tournament this year at the new turf fields at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey.

“League play has been really challenging this year. Apart from maybe one or two games, it has been hard fought and close all year,” Smith said.

Kwantlen finished the season with eight wins, three losses and one draw to finish seven points behind first-place UBC Okanagan in their division.

Kwantlen, however, has the advantage of having players on the team that have won a provincial championship before, and the team gets to play its provincial games on the home field at Newton Athletic Park.

“Having home field is huge. We don’t have to travel and we can stick to our normal routine and be well rested,” Smith said. “We’ve been successful all year at home. The field is bigger and wider, so it gives us more room to attack out wide.”

Kwantlen took on the Quest Kermodes in the quarterfinals on Friday. Kwantlen played Quest once this year coming away with a 1-0 victory in Squamish in October.

Quest finished third in the division, winning only three times all year, but Smith has warned his team about the dangers of taking a team lightly.

“They are a very good team. We’ve played them and they’re a disciplined, well defending team. They counter attack well and are good on set pieces. We are going to have to limit the number of free kicks we give them,” Smith said.

Kwantlen is led by three first-team all-stars: goalkeeper Melina Gomez, defender Brittany McNeil and midfielder Shanay Sangha. Sangha tied for fifth in the league for goals during league play this year with six, and Gomez and McNeil led a solid defense core for Kwantlen, which gave up only nine goals in 12 league games.

“It is very important that they continue to play at the highest level. They’ve been our most consistent players, but that being said we’ve gotten contributions from others (two rookies) that have been big,” Smith said.

The women’s semi-finals will take place this Saturday, Oct. 30 at noon, at Newton Athletic Park, and the bronze and gold medal games will take place at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31 at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey.