Kendall Horn became the first local soccer player to win a national championship at the CEGEP level, as she did with the Champlain College Cavaliers last week. (Courtesy Angie Marquis)
Not many get the chance to play soccer at a provincial level, never mind bring home a gold medal in a national competition.
Kendall Horn built on her already impressive athletic career in her first year with the Champlain College Cavaliers and brought home national title at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association in Coquitlam, BC last week with her CEGEP team.
The best collegial teams from across Canada came to play, and Horn noticed an interesting pattern.
“I noticed that the teams from other provinces like Vancouver and Ontario don’t play as quick and aggressive as Quebec teams like Champlain or Garneau,” said Horn. “We knew from the beginning that we would be up against Garneau in the finals.”
Garneau CEGEP was the only team that Champlain lost against in the season, and Champlain finally got the best of their Quebec City rivals in the final winning 3-2.
“It was such a rewarding feeling to win. All our hard work paid off! It was such a great feeling to beat Garneau who hasn’t lost a game in four years and they were the defending champs of last year’s Nationals,” described Horn.
Champlain, although being a public school, has a very small student population of 2,000 compared to the 10,000 students at Dawson College and 6,500 at Vanier.
Such a small college winning such a huge title, is an amazing feat.
“It’s a normal thing to want to win each championship in each sport, but I think Champlain really does put in the extra hours and effort in order to acquire that goal,” said Horn.
Nothing new was planned for the final game that decided who would ring home gold. Champlain stuck with the same strategy they used against Garneau the other two games they lost against them only this time brining a different mentality.
“We applied high pressure, shot on net when given an opportunity, and won the 50-50 balls in the air. We knew in our minds that we weren’t losing and we fought the whole 90 minutes of the game,” said Horn.
All the Champlain versus Garneau games were close, each ending with one team a single point ahead of the other. In the final game, Champlain finally managed to one-up Garneau in the eighty-eighth minute to finish it with the 3-2 win for the Cavaliers.