Women’s Soccer Preview: October 15–16
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
With their playoff spot secured, the Royals women’s soccer team just has to see out the season to a finish and prepare for the playoffs. After all, does the rest of the season matter after you’ve made the playoffs? Well actually, yes, yes it does.
The next three games will be essential to determining where the Royals are seeded into the PACWEST Championships. They will also decide whether or not the Royals are regular season champions again or not. Although the team has clinched the playoffs, the battle for the regular season title is still roaring. This coming week, the Royals will do battle against one of the squads also competing for that title, the VIU Mariners.
The Mariners are coming off their bye week well rested and new. But they are also coming into play the Royals with a lot of rust on, as it will have been 14 days since their last PACWEST competition. While they have likely improved since their last outing, the team will probably be looking back at the 2–2 tie against Quest leading into their bye week. Their failure to put that game away will be in the back of their minds when they come to face the Royals.
For the Royals, revenge will once again be a theme. The last time these two teams met, the Mariners put the Royals out of commission with a 3–1 win on the Island. This time around, the Royals will be looking to put them away. They come into the game off a dominating weekend against the former league-leading Langara Falcons. They have since claimed the league-leading title and have several of the PACWEST’s best players on the team. But the Royals will need to be defensively wary, lest the Mariner’s Chloe Gummer punish them. Gummer has been the Royals’ nemesis this year, scoring four out of five of her goals against Royals goalkeepers. If the team can shut her down, and the Royals play like they did against the Falcons, the Mariners shouldn’t stand a chance.
After that game, the team hits the road to visit the Quest Kermodes. The last time these two met, the Kermodes barely scored, only to have the Royals score right back to take the tie. The Kermodes will be fighting for their playoff lives, as they will need to win their last three games and for outcomes elsewhere to go their way. Desperation will be evident in the Kermodes’ play, but the Royals need to stand stalwart against it. It will be a hard game, but the Royals should pull out a win.
Overall, I’m thinking the team can grab at least four points here. While six points is the goal, it’s understandable if the Mariner’s game results in a draw. Two points would really be a hard result to take after their play against Langara, while zero points is nearly unthinkable.
You can watch the Royals host the Mariners on Saturday at 1 p.m., at Cunnings Field. Come and see if the team can repeat history and take one step closer to winning the regular season title.