Royals WSOC drop three points in surprise loss
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
Perhaps I was a tad overconfident when I predicted the Royals to take a smashing result against the Capilano Blues. After all, this was the team that nearly ended the Royals’ playoff run early, taking them to extra time before falling. However, the Royals are a quality team, and that was on display early.
Douglas struck early with captain Sam Kell ripping her third of the season into the back of the net of an assist from rookie Martina Pettenon. But it didn’t take long for the dream start to turn into a nightmare. Blues midfielder Dominika Page scored the equalizer just seven minutes later off a set piece gone awry. Three minutes later, the Blues struck again scoring off a blast from Adrianna Babinski.
The flurry of action caught the Royals on the flatfoot. After the second goal, the team took some time to slow the game down and go back to the basics before heading into halftime. Now looking for the equalizer, the Royals struck out in the second half, playing clean aggressive football.
The team would tally four shots in the second half, including a gorgeous opportunity by Martina Pettenon, but the Blues’ keeper Nikki Gerbrandt was impossible to solve. And so it would be that the early goal from Babinski turned out to be the winner.
The loss is a surprise for the Royals given the time they had to prepare for the game. However, the Blues seemed to have prepared for the Royals as well, given their tie result against VIU the next day. In an interview with the Other Press, Royals head coach Chris Laxton gave his insight into his team’s play. “We controlled the first half for maybe 10 minutes. We scored and then had a good surge. Unfortunately, Cap got back into the game and scored off a second phase of a set piece. We were really chasing the game for the majority of it.”
While a loss like this is always a bitter pill to swallow, it’s the losses that help build a team. For coach Laxton and the Royals, it’s about building towards their results. “We learn from our early performances, win, draw, or loss, and get better. It is a steady climb to our peak and we are nowhere near it. This team has always dealt well with adversity and challenges. I don’t expect anything less this time around.”
The result bumps the Royals into third place, trailing the tied leaders Capilano, and VIU by one point. It’s worth noting that the Mariners have a game in hand, and will still as they take on the Royals next week.