Final game of the season for women’s soccer
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
On paper, it’s been a rough year for the women’s soccer team. Heading into their final game on Sunday October 20, they were sporting a 1-12 record. Generally speaking, such a dismal showing on the scoresheet indicates a lack of effort on the pitch, but not so for this squad: they’ve been in most every game this year, leaving it all out on the pitch. Solid showings all over. The one problem, however, was sticking it in the back of the net. On Sunday afternoon, they finally showed just what they were capable of. In a big way.
It was a chilly afternoon when the Royals took to the field against the visiting Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners. The team was clearly prepared to finish on a high note, breaking from their pre-game huddle with great enthusiasm and a strong sense of camaraderie that only a true team can display. And so, with a small throng of Douglas supporters set up on the far sideline providing support (along with the ever-popular sound of vuvuzelas), the match kicked off.
The game got off to an unfortunate start when a defensive miscue led to an empty net for the Mariners’ Jessie Weninger to fire at eight minutes into the game, but the Royals had other plans for how the game was to play out. Not long after the 20-minute mark, Hayley Melvin unleashed a shot that saw a deflection off a defender before finding the goal. A minute later, Miyoko McKeown gave Douglas a lead they would never relinquish when she curled a beautiful ball off the inside of the left post. In the 36th minute, Melvin added to her tally with another strong strike. The teams headed into half with the hosts up 3-1.
The Royals began the second half in similar fashion to how they ended the first. Hard pressure from Melvin forced a turnover at the top of the box—a turnover Mia Rushton was only too happy to convert: 4-1 Douglas. McKeown then potted her second of the afternoon with a strike from inside the box that the keeper couldn’t quite get enough of. To finish the scoring for the Royals, Nicolle Fraser sent a gorgeous ball to the far post just over the keeper. Desperate to claw back into the game, VIU would score one in the 38th minute, but it was too little, too late. Final score 6-2 for Douglas.
“You’re only as good as your last game… and our last game was a 6-2 win,” commented Coach Ciaran McMahon.
“Unfortunately it took until the last game [for us to dominate], but that was our goal all season. We’re all very, very happy about it,” said Melvin. “It was great for Mia and Sam as well.”
The game was more than just the end of the season for two players, though, as Melvin alluded to. For Sam Stackhouse and Mia Rushton, it was the end of the road for their careers as Royals. The team had a short tribute after the game with Ashley Dunn delivering the line, “Forever a teammate. Forever a friend. Forever a Royal.”
“Five years and she finished off today with a goal, that’s just quality for her,” said McMahon on his captain, Rushton.
“Amazing,” managed Rushton, describing her feelings about her final game. As to what she was going to miss most, Rushton simply motioned towards her coaches and teammates. No words necessary.
They may have only won two games this year, but statistics only tell half the story. These Royals are clearly winners.