Righting the ship

Photo by Davie Wong
Photo by Davie Wong

Men’s soccer fixing flaws quickly

By Davie Wong, Sports Editor

With a playoff spot clinched, the men just needed a win to solidify their seeding in the top three. The Capilano Blues had first place nearly on lock, so the Royals really just need to get into the second or third seed to avoid playing the Blues in the first round. To do that, they needed at least one win on the weekend.

Their first opponents were none other than the VIU Mariners. It was a preview of the playoff round that the Royals were hoping for. Neither team was taking a rest day despite their playoff spots being secured. The Royals brought their full assortment of attack options with them, and they struck first.

Mateo Serka continued his scoring expertise against the Mariners, scoring the first goal of the match to give the Royals the lead. But the Mariners would not pushed around, and took the goal right back. They would add to that late into the second half, and the Royals could not fight back, falling with a final score of 2–1.

With that result, the Royals had really limited their seeding options. VIU had to lose their next two if the Royals wanted that second seed, and they had to win against Quest and Capilano. Alternatively, the team could also come in third, with both resulting in the same matchup against the Mariners in the playoffs. To do that, the Royals needed to win their next match against the Quest Kermodes.

They had the opportunity to do so the very next day, as they traveled to battle the Kermodes. The team looked stellar coming out of the gates, controlling possession and dictating tempo. They were rewarded for their play with a fantastic goal from Race Williams off of a cross by Mateo Serka to give them the lead. They would take the lead into half time.

After the break, the Kermodes came out hungrier than ever. They snatched at whatever chances they could, and eventually found the equalizer. With the game slipping away, the Royals needed a hero. They needed someone fresh. They needed, and got, the other Williams. Maxim Williams came off of the bench and drove home the game winner with a little more than five minutes to play.

Fired up by their teammate’s effort, the team would hold on to the lead for their dear life and close out the game, narrowly escaping with the 2–1 win. The win ensures a top 3 finish for the Royals, and more importantly, already tells them their playoff opponent. Alth0ugh the team will play the Capilano Blues next week, it’ll be surprising if either team fields a full strength squad against the other in an attempt to rest before the playoffs.

This also means that the Royals will be facing off against the VIU Mariners in the first round of the PACWEST Championships. With a record of 1–2 against the Mariners this year, the team will have a ton of prep work to do if they want to achieve their dreams of a National berth.