Locking up playoffs

Photo by Davie Wong
Photo by Davie Wong

Men’s soccer preview: October 15–16

By Davie Wong, Sports Editor

Going into the weekend doubleheader against Langara, the men’s soccer team needed at least four points to lock up a playoff position. Unfortunately, they only got three, which means their playoff position is technically still on the line. To secure it, the team will need to win and Langara will need to lose. That sounds easy in theory, but when you consider that the team only has three games left, and one of them is the Capilano Blues, the possibilities can get real grim, real quick.

The other two games will be played this week. The first of those games will be at home for the Royals, where they host the VIU Mariners. And if I know anything about the Mariners, it’s that whenever the Royals play them, things tend to go belly up really quickly, for one team or the other. The last time these two played each other, the Royals got the better of the Mariners taking a thrilling game 2-1. However, the last time the Mariners visited the Royals in week one, they took the game 2-0. So both sides will really be looking to get one up on the other.

Statistically, the Mariners have been just better than the Royals. Even though the Mariners have the same number of points as the Royals, they’ve lost one game less, giving them the head to head. In terms of players, the Mariners have two excellent goal scorers in Billy Bagiopoulos and Victor Blasco, The two have tallied for 11 goals between them, and the Royals will have to extra careful to keep them down.

As always, a quick start will be important for the Royals. VIU is a team who can put you down early, and pile on to that if a team allows them. For the momentum-driven Royals, it’ll be dangerous to let the Mariners get ahead of them.

After that battle, the Royals will travel to face off against the team that sent them spiraling so hard they’ve only now recovered. The Quest Kermodes have undoubtedly been a team that the Royals have been wanting to see again for some time. Revenge is more than just a thought against the Kermodes, it will be the driving factor. The Royals needs to make a statement win here, because their performance against the Kermodes last time was not of the level of a team that wants to be competing to go to Nationals.

I expect the team will be able to grab three points this week and clinch playoffs. At this time, six points feels like a stretch. Four points sounds more reasonable than six, and would go a long way to proving that the team is playoff ready, but still sounds a little hopeful. Two points may still secure them the playoff berth, but will be a tough result for the team to take going into the final leg of the season. Zero points would be catastrophic, and I don’t know how the team would bounce back after that. Let hope it doesn’t come to that.

The men will be taking on the VIU Mariners at home on Saturday. The game starts at 3:30 p.m. Come out and watch the men do battle against their rivals over the strait for what could be the last time this season!