Young squad face reality of adapting to PACWEST
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
The PACWEST is a tough league. While it isn’t the top of its kind, the league is full of players fighting to keep their careers alive. The young Douglas College men’s soccer team figured that out first hand last week as they took on the Quest Kermodes and VIU Mariners to open their season.
Their home opener versus the Quest Kermodes was filled with drama on the sopping wet field. Defensive breakdowns from the Royals to start the game would give a 2-0 lead to the Kermodes off of set pieces. Stefan Kamner would grab his first goal as a Royal by threading a beautiful lob past the overextended Quest keeper. However, 20 minutes later, the Kermodes would grab another goal off a battle in the Royals box going the wrong way.
Going into halftime and down 3-1, I’m sure head coach Robby Toor had some choice words for the team. Whatever he said seemed to light a fire in them. A couple of key changes were made as well. Out was starting keeper Sraw Iqbal, and in came Joel Webb. Webb would make a huge difference, making four saves in the second half of the game, including what looked like a sure goal.
Only 10 minutes after half time, Royals David Suh scored a well-placed header off a set piece to bring the Royals within one. Two minutes later, captain Noah Binsaleh slid home a dirty backheel that had many spectators looking for eyewash to equalize. The Royals fought hard to hold on to the lead, but their defence was made difficult after midfielder Quinn Dawson was sent for an early shower for arguing a call. The hard tackle and chatter earned Dawson two yellows and an automatic red.
Fortunately, his team hung on, and the Royals would finish the dramatic home opener tied, 3-3. As it is, there is no rest for the wicked. The team headed over to Nanaimo to face the VIU Mariners the next day. After a rather drab first half, the game was broken open of a David Suh goal, which put the Royals into the lead. However, just as quickly as the lead materialized, it vanished. VIU’s Chris Merriman would score the equalizer moments later, and VIU’s Jamie Taylor would score them the lead 10 minutes later. Try as they might, the Royals couldn’t find the equalizer and fell 2-1 to the Mariners.
Despite the loss, Joel Webb was easily the best Royals player on the pitch, making 9 saves of the 11 shots that got by the defence. With the loss, the Royals dropped to 0-1-1 on the season. With one point, they find themselves in the middle of the pack.