By Josh Martin, Sports Editor
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he winter semester at Douglas College is nearing an end, and for those of you who aren’t coming back for the summer semester, well then, get ready to enjoy your four-month vacation from school. I know I will. Yes, the school year has already come and is about to be gone, just like that. It seems as though this year flew by faster than the last. But then again, so will the next. With that in mind, here’s a look at the highlight moments for Douglas College sports teams this year.
The badminton squad were lights out once again this year, capturing their seventh consecutive Provincial Championship, absolutely dominating at the National Championships, along with having three athletes achieve perfect seasons, and not to mention the unstoppable women’s singles superstar; RuiLin Huang.
Without even losing a single set, Huang finished the season with a perfect record and captured her fourth consecutive provincial and national titles, was named PacWest player of the year, won the Royals female athlete of the year award at the Douglas College year-end awards banquet and took home—perhaps the most flattering award of them all—the CCAA Women’s Badminton player of the year award. Yep, Huang has got it all. She’s a badminton dynamo and there’s a strong chance that come next year she will be returning for a fifth campaign in hopes of taking her fifth title consecutive title. “As long as they need me, I’ll be back… I have no other choice,” said Huang.
The men’s volleyball team had a bittersweet ending to an otherwise stellar and successful season. After going 19–5 in 24 games with 38 points, finishing second in the standings right behind the VIU Mariners who had 40 points, the Royals entered the provincial championships with first place in sights. They swept Columbia Bible College 3–0 on home court before taking on and defeating their rivals, the Mariners, in the championship game, 3–1.
With that huge win at home, the Royals marched on to Nationals in Abbotsford where they got the better hand of Quebec’s Sherbrooke, by a score of 3–1. In the next round, they finished off the championship’s hosts, CBC, 3–1; this ultimately led them to the finals against the dreaded number-one seeded Humber Hawks, who—as we all know—ended the Royals post-season streak and took gold in a 3–1 affair (25–21, 30–28, 21–25, 26–24). A heartbreaking loss as a bookend to a compelling season.
Royals’ senior, Jeff Taylor, had a very impressive season, leading the conference in cumulative offensive stats, was a first-team all-star in both the regular season and the Provincials as well as a CCAA All-Canadian, and to top it all off won the Royals male athlete of the year award at the Douglas College banquet.
Yes, the Burnaby North graduate has a lot to be proud about in his career with the Royals, “I’ll probably know these friends for the rest of my life, and I’ll probably look back 10 years from now and think this was a pretty awesome team,” said Taylor.
The men’s soccer team went through a rollercoaster of a season, falling from first to last in the PacWest standings in the blink of an eye. Due to the discovery of the ineligibility of player Simrin Rattanpal, the Royals were disqualified from the league.
Director of Campus Life and Athletics, Kyle Baillie, put it best, “It’s shockingly simple. Every one of our student athletes has to maintain eligibility. Eligibility, as defined by PACWEST, is generally 18 credits over an academic year and nine credits in the season they’re participating in. What ended up happening was one of our soccer players did not accomplish 18 credits last year. In that time, he accomplished 16. What ended up happening was that when we were doing credential eligibility checks we made a math error. The error was when you add nine credits plus seven credits we came up with 18—and we should’ve come up with 16.”
The mistake cost them a possible national championship title. However, the mistake shouldn’t be solely burdened on the Athletics department—who took most of the blame from the soccer squad—as Rattanpal should have been more responsible of how many credits he accomplished in the previous year.
The Royals dominated the league with eight wins, one tie, and one loss and were looking as the sure favourites to go to Nationals in Quebec. There’s no question next year that they’ll be part of the National Championships as Douglas College is hosting and the host team is granted entry regardless of how well they do in the standings.