A look at this week’s matchups
By Davie Wong, Sports Reporter
The men are coming home this week to close out the month of January. It has largely been a successful month for the squad that came into January with just two wins. This week, they will look to finish the month strong against the middle-of-the-table Capilano Blues.
It’s been a long time since the two teams last met—the beginning of the season to be exact. Since then, the Royals have undergone a significant overhaul in terms of play style and quality. The Blues, however, have refined their hyper-offensive strategy.
Both teams will be coming off losses to VIU in the previous week, so look for them both to try turn back to a winning strategy. For the Blues, that would be leaning on their young shooters who have dominated the league in terms of points this year. The Royals will need to shut them down early if they want to win.
This will be the only game this weekend for the team. The game starts at 8 p.m. at Douglas College (New Westminster Campus).
Playing the opening match of the weekend is the scorching Royals. Visiting them are the third place Capilano Blues who are looking to move up in the standings. The last time these two met, Douglas picked up an early lead in the first half that lead to a win. Capilano made a substantial push in the second half but could not overcome the lead that they gave up earlier.
A lot of time has passed since then. Both teams have improved substantially but the Royals have looked much better overall. Since that game, the team has improved their defensive abilities ten-fold and have gotten much better in the second half of games.
Look for the Royals to push hard in the first half to grab a sizable lead and then slow their play to shut out the Blues.
A much anticipated rematch is in the wings for the men this week. The team will travel to the island to play long-time rival VIU for the third and fourth time this season.
It has just been little over a month since these two giants last clashed. The end result was a split weekend with both sides barely walking away with wins. Each and every set was heavily contested by both teams, but it was the team that got the early lead in a set that usually took it.
When these teams play each other, there is usually a lot more than pride at stake. This time is no different. The winner of this series will solidify their position in the standings at second place, barring a Camosun collapse.
For the Royals, the key to this game will be how they start. The team needs to come out hard and attack VIU. If they can even get a few points ahead of their rival, that should be enough to decide a set.
The women have a much different matchup on their hands. Although they will also travel to the island to play VIU, they are in for a much harder challenge. VIU’s women’s team sits atop of the PACWEST standings. The closest team to catching them is three games away from doing so. VIU, for the most part, has looked absolutely unstoppable this season.
But luckily for the Royals, recent results have rendered the Mariners very much stoppable. Since coming back from the break, VIU has split games in two straight weekends. One of those losses was to UFV—a team below the Royals in the standings.
The last time VIU came to play, the ladies almost handed them a loss. They forced the visiting team into a desperate fifth set, which was something that had never happened to them in the season. Since then, VIU have been in two other games that have gone to five sets: one two weeks ago and one last week.
If there is a time to upset the rulers of the PACWEST standings, now would be it.