Royals WSOC prep to take on Langara Falcons
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
By the title you probably know what’s coming. I’m going to roast the Falcons… kind of. Week five of PACWEST soccer is the famed Thanksgiving derby between the Douglas College Royals and Langara Falcons. Though last year the Falcons were flying high and mighty, this year, the Royals are the ones on top.
Coming into the weekend, the Royals sit atop the PACWEST conference with a record of 4-2-1, and 13 points. Langara is third with a record of 1-1-5 and eight points. Big difference. The catch? The Falcons’ first and only win was against the Royals last Wednesday night. There will be some added animosity this year as head coach Rae Pelat returns to face her former team.
The two teams will face off in back-to-back games this weekend. The key for the Royals will be their offence. After it stalled against the Falcons last time, due to some very good plays by Sydney Bell, the Royals will be looking for a repeat performance of their 4-1 thrashing of the Capilano Blues.
As always, Mikayla Hamilton will be looked to as the offensive sparkplug. The speedy Hamilton has made all the difference for the Royals this year, only scoring three goals but having a huge presence and assisting her team offensively all over the field. An x-factor for the team this year has been Martina Pettenon. The young midfielder has operated in the number 10 role this year (attacking centre-mid for those unfamiliar with soccer jargon), taking over the role left by the injured Andrea Perrotta. She’s really come onto her own this year adapting well to PACWEST soccer. When involved she’s a huge difference-maker. Getting her involved has been a bit trickier.
In the midfield, Taylor Wettig and Michelle Wessa have been unspoken heroes for the team. Taylor in particular doesn’t get too much attention, but like the ideal midfielder, she’s there when she needs to be and applies a huge amount of pressure off the ball with her smart positioning and play. Wessa on the other hand has been a defensive workhorse. There’s no header or tackle that she’s not contesting in the midfield. She is the rock of the Royals, and the team will be looking for her to close out the Langara offence.
Defensively, the big question mark is on who will be in between the pipes. With Alexa Gazzola rumoured to be coming back from injury, will she get the start right away? Or will Nicole Scott play the first game to ease Gazzola back into the team? Gazzola is easily the better of the two keepers, but Scott has earned her fair share of play time, looking strong but not amazing in net for the Royals in Gazzola’s absence.
On Langara’s side, the team will need to watch out for Giulia Repole, who’s been on fire as of late. Sydney Bell will also prove a challenge to overcome, but honestly, there shouldn’t be a keeper that the Royals can’t solve.
The Royals should be coming away with at least 4-6 points this week. While Langara have been mediocre, they haven’t been good. Their recent loss to the Quest Kermodes does nothing to convince spectators otherwise. But the Royals should be careful still. A cooked bird can still burn if mishandled.