KPU Eagles goalie David Hicks and forward Jacob Starheim both go for the ball during a PACWEST men’s soccer game Sunday against the Capilano Blues at Newton Athletic Park. KPU won 1-0.

KPU struggles against last-place Capilano

Soccer squads drop points to Blues, but are closer to clinching a PACWEST playoff berth

Despite losing points to the last place team in their respective leagues, the men’s and women’s soccer teams from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) took huge steps toward clinching playoff positions in PACWEST (Pacific Northwest Athletic Conference) play.

The KPU Eagles split their two men’s games against the Capilano Blues last weekend, falling 5-0 in North Vancouver Saturday before a 1-0 victory Sunday at Newton Athletic Park. The three points left Kwantlen with a 4-3-4 (won-lost-tied) record with four games to play. The Eagles are in third place in the six-team league, four points up on the Langara Falcons and Quest Kermodes, which are tied for fourth.

The Eagles were winless against Capilano in women’s competition, but a pair of scoreless draws pushed them six points clear of fifth-place Quest. The Eagles are 3-5-3 in league play, four back of the third-place Falcons.

After conceding five goals Saturday afternoon, the KPU men came back Sunday to shutout the Blues in Newton. Rookie netminder David Hicks of Surrey earned his second shutout in six games played this season, playing behind a solid line of defenders which included Jacob Starheim of North Delta, Matthew Visser and Nawaf Binsaleh.

Kristofer Racanelli of White Rock scored the game’s only goal in the 28th minute.

“We were short on players this weekend, but the guys stuck to the game plan and we limited Capilano’s scoring chances today,” said  Eagles’ head coach Srdjan Djekanovic, “It was a terrific team performance, they left everything out on the field.”

With two weeks and four games left on the regular season schedule, KPU’s two teams will be on the road next weekend. The men play at 3 p.m. Saturday in Coquitlam against the second-place Douglas College Royals, then again Sunday at 2 p.m. at the University of British Columbia (UBC) against the fourth-place Falcons.

The Eagles women played 180 minutes of scoreless soccer, earning two points from the two scoreless ties against the Blues.

Sunday’s draw in Newton kept KPU’s unbeaten home record intact at two wins and three ties.

Simran Meelu of Abbotsford got the shutout Saturday in North Vancouver, her second in six starts. Chantalle Bracken of Langley blanked Capilano Sunday, her third shutout in four games played.

“We had a slow start in the first half and then had moments in the second half with a couple of breakaways, but we need to finish the job” said KPU assistant coach Joan McEachern, “Our goalkeepers have been fantastic this weekend, as a team we have played better the past few weeks, but at the end of the day everyone needs to do their job out there. If everyone does their job we will be in great shape.”

The women kickoff Saturday at 1 p.m. in Coquitlam against second-place Douglas College (7-1-3). The teams have split their season series so far, with the Royals winning 2-0 on Sept. 6 at home before the Eagles claimed a 2-1 victory Sept. 20 at Newton.

Sunday at noon at UBC, KPU plays against a third-place Falcons team which has posted a 3-1 win and a scoreless tie in two games with KPU.

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