Top Ranked Mariners Face Host Kermodes

Photo courtesy of Northfield Photography
Photo courtesy of Northfield Photography

#1 VIU Mariners vs. #4 Quest Kermodes - Saturday October 28, 1:00pm | WATCH HERE

The final game of the opening round at the PACWEST Soccer Championship is a rematch of last year’s bronze medal game. The #1 VIU Mariners face the host and fourth seeded Quest Kermodes.

Last year it was the Kermodes that won bronze on the strength of penalty kicks, upsetting the Mariners. As a matter of fact the Mariners lost both tournament games via the penalty kick last season.

This year it’s been a different story. The Mariners have dominated in the seasonal series outscoring the Kermodes 11-1. All-Star Shun Takano has led the charge scoring three of the 11 goals while Aly Adib has scored twice as has Stephen Ewashko.

Their offensive weapons have obviously played well against the Kermodes, but defensively they were really locked in. Keeper David Turkstra was only required to make four saves in the three games. The Kermodes finally solved the All-Star keeper in the 73rd minute of their final meeting, a goal coming off the boot of Josef Rebalkin.

Mariners head coach Bill Merriman says his team will be ready for a tough first game, “Finishing on top of the PACWEST was our first goal and we knew it would not be an easy task. Game in and game out you know you were going to be in for a competitive game. The first team we play will be Quest University and as I have said before I respect their team and their coach. The Mariners have twice gone all the way to PK's at the Championships with Quest and I expect it to be another competitive game on their home field in front of their home fans. Some great footy coming up Provincials at Quest then Nationals at home, it’s an exciting time of the year.”

The Kermodes are at home for the Championships for the first time since 2014. They have struggled this season scoring goals but are playing teams tough. They came away with a pair of ties in their last three games including a 0-0 final against the Capilano Blues just two weeks ago.

Offensively Nick Glavas and Ahmed Kamal combined to score six of the team’s 12 goals and Yassin Nayel tallied a pair.

On the backend the Kermodes have continued to be in close games thanks to All-Star keeper Sam MacDonald. He’s played the second most minutes in the Conference and had a goals against average of 2.27. Against the Mariners he was consistently busy making 23 saves in the seasonal series.

Head coach Alex Elliott knows his club have a large mountain to climb on Saturday, “We're extremely excited to be hosting this year’s PACWEST Championships. We look forward to playing on our home field with the support of Kermodes fans. VIU has a very talented group of players, well deserving of first place in the league. Having said that, our team is more then up for the challenge. With the last two Quest versus VIU playoff meetings ending in penalty shootouts, we can expect this year's match to deliver high quality play and lots of action for the fans.”

The Mariners and Kermodes will square off on Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm. The winner will play Sunday for PACWEST gold, the loser will play for bronze.