Jacob Starheim of the KPU Eagles (left) battles Devin Phelan of the Douglas College Royals during a PACWEST men’s soccer game Saturday at Newton Athletic Park.

KPU Eagles pick up points from home games in Newton

Men, women occupy playoff positions in PACWEST standings

Home field was a huge advantage for Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) soccer teams last weekend.

Both the KPU Eagles men’s and women’s teams earned four of a possible six points, tightening their hold on a Pacific Northwest Athletic Association (PACWEST) playoff position.

The men moved into second place in the six-team league with a 1-0 win Saturday over the Douglas College Royals at Newton Athletic Park. A goal from the penalty spot was the difference in the game, as Jacob Starheim of North Delta notched the winner in the 83rd minute.

Eagles netminder Ashbir Paul earned his second consecutive shutout.

KPU played the fifth-place Langara Falcons to a 2-2 tie Sunday, also in Newton. Langara, winners of just one of seven games to start the season, surprised the Eagles with a goal just two minutes into the game.

Kwantlen drew even less than 20 minutes later when Abdul Kulan took a pass from Rylan Sangha before scoring. Holy Cross high school graduate Dalton San put KPU up 2-1 in the 34th minute.

KPU dominated play for much of the game, but were forced to settle for the tie after the Falcons scored with just over a minute to play.

“It was a tough battle, we always know it’s going to be a physical game versus Langara,” said KPU head coach Srdjan Djekanovic, “We set up some great scoring chances but just couldn’t finish them off.”

KPU finished the weekend at 3-3-1 (won-lost-tied), and are in second place in the PACWEST, a point up on the Royals. Kwantlen will visit the fourth-place Quest Kermodes (2-2-3) Saturday in Squamish before hosting the undefeated Vancouver Island Mariners (5-2-0) Sunday at 2 p.m. at Newton Athletic Park.

The KPU Eagles women’s team pulled off a huge upset Saturday in Newton, handing the first-place Royals their first loss of the season by a 2-1 score.

Douglas, winners of all five games prior to Saturday’s contest, opened the scoring in the 24th minute.

The Eagles continued to attack and tied the scored 10 minutes later when Lexie Gillette finished a cross from Sands Secondary graduate Megan Talabar. KPU got the winner with 16 minutes to play when Talabar found the net.

“After the Douglas goal went in, they didn’t hang their heads and I knew we would score,” said KPU women’s head coach Julie King. “The intensity, the work ethic, the want, the focus, everything was there today and we realized the benefits. We were strong today because we all did our part and played the role we were supposed to play.”

The Eagles played Langara to a scoreless draw Sunday, with Chantalle Bracken earning the shutout in the KPU goal.

At 2-2-3, the Eagles visit the fifth-place Quest Kermodes (1-3-3) Saturday in Squamish. The top four teams in the PACWEST standings will advance to the postseason.

Sunday at noon at Newton Athletic Park, the second-place Vancouver Island Mariners are the visitors.

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