Douglas College women’s soccer 2017
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
Headed into the 2017 season, the Royals women’s soccer team had a point to prove. The surprise CCAA bronze medalists were looking to cement themselves as a perennial Nationals contender. With the Royals hosting the 2018 CCAA Soccer Championships, they have certainly had the spotlight on them this year.
To be fair, they’ve performed very well. A 7-2-3 season with 23 points, capped off with their second PACWEST gold medal win in three years can only be described as success. The highlight of the regular season was a big 4-0 thrashing of the Langara Falcons. The lowlight comes at the hands of the same Falcons, when they defeated the Royals 1-0.
In terms of awards, the Royals received their fair share. A Player of the Year award to Mikayla Hamilton was well earned. Sam Kell earned an All-Star call-up for her league leading 8 goals. Both also earned a CCAA All-Canadian awards. Michelle Wessa capped her career off with an All-Star award. Alexa Gazzola and Nicole Scott were the best goalkeeping pair in the PACWEST with an average of 0.9 goals per 90 minutes.
Chris Laxton was once again robbed of the Head Coach of the Year award. But what’s new? His team has only finished with the best record in the PACWEST for three years straight, but obviously he must just have talented players.
At National Championships, the Royals had a terribly tough draw. They made the most of it, nearly defeating the three-time defending national champions, but they would end up dropping into the bronze medal bracket before being defeated by the Algonquin Thunder. The team would end up fifth after defeating the GRPC Wolves. The squad would be the first to tell you how disappointed they are with the finish but this makes next year all that more exciting.
After having a year of high-level competition under their belts, the Royals will be ready to push for a big finish at home next year. Hopefully head coach Chris Laxton can lock down the key players in his squad for at least another year.
Alexa Gazzola is facing an interim in her career. After her second year with the Royals, the spunky goalkeeper is likely getting looks from U-Sports teams looking to add a talented keeper. Will she stay on another year for the National Championships? Only time will tell.
Mikayla Hamilton will likely return after a huge year of growth from her. Captain Sam Kell will indefinitely be finishing her career with a big National Championship opportunity. Martina Pettenon, one of the standout rookies this year, will likely return to play a bigger role in the team next year. Preet Thandi, my selection for Royals Rookie of the Year, played a huge role for the Royals this year, and will likely continue to do so next year.
The only question is who will fill in the spot left by Michelle Wessa. My guess is that we’ll see Taylor Wettig slot into the role but, once again, only time will tell. What that means is that it will be a very exciting off-season for head coach Chris Laxton.