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Lethbridge College Kodiaks men to look to secure playoff berth

The Lethbridge College Kodiaks men’s soccer team will be looking to clinch a playoff spot this weekend with just four regular season games remaining. Danica Ferris reports.

Regular-season success isn’t what the Lethbridge College Kodiaks men’s soccer team is aiming for.

While a 5-1-1 record so far has the club sitting tied atop the ACAC south division, it’s a playoff spot and then championship that the club has its sights set on.

“The whole goal for everybody that we talked to before the season started was to make nationals this year,” said Kodiaks co-head coach Sean Carey on Wednesday.

Among those who set the bar high, Kodiaks captain and third-year midfielder Ben Knight.

“I said it on Day 1 that we would go to nationals,” said Knight, “so trying to stay [true] to the word, but yeah, it’s going really well so far.”

The team will have a chance to clinch that ACAC playoff berth this weekend, with a win over Medicine Hat College (3-4-1).

Through eight games, the Kodiaks sit tied for first place at 19 points with the Red Deer College Kings.

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Lethbridge’s lone loss came more than a month ago — in the club’s second game of the regular season — against the same Red Deer College they now battle for top seed.

Since then, the Kodiaks have gone six games without a defeat.

“We’ve got a group of guys this year that refuse to lose,” said Carey.

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“They’ve found their identity now after that first weekend. They were pretty frustrated after that Red Deer game because they just didn’t play well, they didn’t click, and after that, they’ve just basically pulled up their socks and said, ‘No more.'”

A potent offence has contributed to the consistency, led by two third-year players: Jimmy Bukuru, who leads the south division with nine goals, and Ben Knight, leading the entire ACAC with seven assists.

Supporting them from the back has been a solid defensive core and a top goalkeeper.

“We’re pretty good defensively. We’ve only conceded five goals,” said center back Jaden Veluw. “I think we’ve got a lot of offensive talent too. We can score goals… so we’ve kind of got everything covered.”

“Our goalkeeper, Cody Ferguson, is unreal,” said Knight.

“He’s the best in the league,” agreed Carey. “I 100 per cent believe he’s the best in the league.”

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With confidence in the roster heading down the stretch, there is true belief that the team has what it takes.

“We’ve really picked it up so we’re coming in hot,” said Veluw.

“No doubt at all,” said Knight with a smile.

In its final pair of home games at Servus Sports Centre field, the Kodiaks will square off against the Rattlers on Sunday at 2 p.m., followed by the last-place Ambrose University Lions on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.