Royals women’s soccer wraps up first month
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
Week four of PACWEST action started early for the Douglas College Royals women’s soccer team as they took on the undefeated Langara Falcons on Wednesday night. The term “undefeated” has to be used lightly here, as the Falcons had yet to win any games, but they had also not lost any games.
If that wasn’t intriguing enough, there was more to the match. Former Royals assistant coach Rae Pelat is now the head coach of the Falcons, and this was their first time matching up. To greet her, the Royals peppered the Falcons with shots. They launched a total of six in the direction of the Falcons’ net in the first half but Falcons keeper Sydney Bell was solid. On the other end, although they only got two shots on net, Rhitti Lakhanpal buried her’s and gave the Falcons the 1-0 lead just before the half.
Determined to get the result, the Royals came back out with intensity, making several threatening runs. However they were denied at every angle by Sydney Bell, who would end up make 13 saves on the night. While the Falcons wouldn’t score either, the earlier strike would prove to be the game winner.
Despite the tough loss, the Royals’ week was just getting started. Next up was the ever-persistent Capilano Blues. Hungry for the Royals’ spot at the top, the Blues and the Royals have had some history as of late. While the Royals knocked out the Blues en-route to a CCAA Bronze medal last year, the Blues have had the most recent of victories, taking a 2-1 decision earlier in the month.
Similar to their battle against Langara, the Royals controlled the game from the opening minute. However, the Capilano Blue line was strong, and held off most of the Royals’ attacks. The home squad found their opener after captain Sam Kell beat her mark and raced down the sideline. She fed the ball to a wide open Sonali Dholliwar who smashed the ball into the top right hand corner to open the scoring.
10 minutes later, the Royals would go on the attack again. Mikayla Hamilton, racing past her marker, sent the through ball past the trailing defenders to a crashing Sneha Sandhu. The pass was perfect and Sneha just tapped the ball into a wide open net for the goal. 2-0 Royals.
However, the Blues wouldn’t be put away so early. Claire Ye would grab one back with an arching shot in the 38th minute. That goal would be the last in an exciting first half but definitely not the last in the match. Five minutes into the second half, the Royals got their second half marker of an excellent goal from Martina Pettenon.
20 minutes later, Mikayla Hamilton would get her name on the score sheet with a beautiful breakaway goal, tucking the ball away behind a lunging Brittney Roussy. Her marker would be the last in an exciting game. The Royals would walk away with a statement 4-1 win.
Despite the big win, head coach Chris Laxton believes his team can still be better. “In the first 30 minutes, I think we were missing that last 10 per cent—those habits that make top teams, top teams. Then we got a great goal and started building off of that. Overall, we’re getting closer to our peak, which is where we need to be. Win, loss, or draw, we learn from it.”
With the win, the Royals top of the PACWEST table with a record of 4-2-1 and 13 points. They are trailed by VIU who are three points behind them. The Mariners do have a game in hand, so the gap is a potential six points for the Royals.