Pyrrhic victory

Photo by Davie Wong
Photo by Davie Wong

Men’s soccer win bronze, lose berth at Nationals

By Davie Wong, Sports Reporter

It was a rather bittersweet weekend for the men of the Royals soccer team. A victory on Saturday afternoon secured them third place in the conference after a heart-wrenching loss on Friday evening, but it was a step backwards for the team who was looking to make the trip to Nationals again.

The action started on Friday afternoon against the Kwantlen Eagles. A quick goal by the Eagles put the Royals down early, but the men fought hard to take it back. A strike by the Royals’ forward Yassin Essa was all they needed to get back into it. The Eagles were quick to respond, however, scoring their second in the next possession. Down but not defeated, the Royals roared back, charging into the Eagles’ zone, forcing them to foul for a penalty shot. With the penalty shot cashed-in and suddenly both teams found themselves going into extra time.

In was during extra time when heartbreak occurred. A corner, all but gifted to the Eagles by the ref, resulted in a header by Eagles striker Mateo Serka that found the back of the net. It was that late goal that sealed the Royals’ fate and they could do nothing but watch as the clock ticked away with a final score of 3-2 for the Eagles. It was an upset of massive proportions and the men knew it as some lay on the ground, stunned by the loss.

Saturday’s action bade the men better luck. The Royals dominated the first half of the game against the Vancouver Island University Mariners, who were reeling from their upset to the Capilano Blues. Two early goals put the Royals in a commanding lead and they dominated the midfield. Halftime brought some surprising changes as the coaches decided to field a primarily rookie team on the field for the rest of the game.

The change was immediately visible as the Mariners capitalized against the Royals with two quick goals. The two teams traded goals again later in the game, as the lack of defensive prowess was evident. In the end, it was Douglas that came out on top with a late goal to finish the game 4-3.

Although happy that his team won bronze, co-coach Paul Bahia overall was not satisfied with his team’s results: “Obviously we are upset with the way things came down. We didn’t come out the way we expected to come out, playing-wise… We had to be better as a team to get the win… I think we came in thinking we were going to win [against KPU], based on our skill and roster, and it didn’t happen… Finishing first in the league wasn’t our main goal. Our main goal was to get back to Nationals… and I would call this year an unsuccessful year because our main goal is to go to Nationals.”