Kodiaks riding historic season into 1st CCAA nationals appearance

Click to play video 'Kodiaks relishing historic season ahead of first ever nationals appearance' Kodiaks relishing historic season ahead of first ever nationals appearance
WATCH: The Lethbridge College Kodiaks men’s soccer team clinched their first ever provincial title banner Sunday, but on Thursday it was back to business as the team prepares to compete at the CCAA National Championships. Danica Ferris has more. – Oct 31, 2019

Just days after an ACAC Men’s Soccer Championship win, it’s back to business for the Kodiaks as they prepare to leave for CCAA national championships, beginning Nov. 6 in Oshawa, Ont.

Kodiaks captain Ben Knight predicted in the pre-season that this roster would be headed to nationals in November, and his team delivered.

READ MORE: Lethbridge College Kodiaks men to look to secure playoff berth

“Like I said all season, we would get here,” Knight laughed. “Of course I believed it to say it, but it’s a different thing to actually go and do it.

“I was confident, but the fact that we got it done is pretty unbelievable. First time in history.”

The provincial title is the first in the Kodiaks’ men’s soccer program history.

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The team finished second in the ACAC South Division with an 8-1-3 regular-season record, before winning three straight games to snag the provincial title in Edmonton over the weekend.

Click to play video 'Global Lethbridge Sports Recap: Oct. 28' Global Lethbridge Sports Recap: Oct. 28
Global Lethbridge Sports Recap: Oct. 28 – Oct 28, 2019

Lethbridge took down the Kings University Eagles 2-0 in their quarterfinal, then clinched a nationals berth when they beat the ACAC North Division first seeded NAIT Ooks 2-1, before blanking the Red Deer College Kings — a team that Lethbridge failed to beat in regular season action — 2-0 in the championship game on Sunday.

On Thursday the Kodiaks hit the field for the first time since the gold medal win, with their eyes now set on a bigger task.

“The way that we see it, we’re on house money going to nationals for the first time ever,” co-head coach Sean Carey said.

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“We’re not going there just to be a part of it, we’re going there wanting to bring some hardware home.”

The squad will rely heavily on a veteran-laden, solid back end and goalkeeper Cody Ferguson, who allowed just seven regular season goals against, and conceded just one in three provincial playoff games.

“We’ve got probably the best goalkeeper — in college level — I’d say in the nation,” Knight said. “The guy is unbelievable.”

Last week, Ferguson was named to the ACAC All-Conference Team as the top goalkeeper in the south division. Three teammates joined Ferguson on that list — Knight, striker Jimmy Bukuru, and centerback Jaden Veluw — and the netminder credits the team in front of him with his success.

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“It’s been going great, but honestly it’s a testament to my teammates,” Ferguson said. “They’ve got to go through 10 guys to get to me.”

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First up, the Kodiaks will face the Vancouver Island University Mariners in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

As far as expectations, the Kodiaks hope they can surprise the teams from around the country.

“When we play well we’re very, very hard to beat,” Carey said, “especially the defensive end.”

With the feelings from Sunday’s provincial title win still fresh in their minds, the Kodiaks hope they can string together three more victories for an even bigger title.