Staying strong

Photo by Davie Wong
Photo by Davie Wong

Women’s soccer continues to rumble

By Davie Wong, Sports Reporter

The end of the soccer season is nigh, and there is one word on everybody’s mind: playoffs. Last week, the Royals clinched a playoff berth with their double ties against the Langara Falcons. But for the ambitious Royals team, clinching isn’t enough. They want to capture the first place seed and took big steps toward that this weekend with two more wins under their belt.

Saturday’s game against KPU ended in a 2-0 victory for the Royals. Although the team had a rough first half against the Eagles’, they came back strong in the second half and finished the game strongly. The next day the team played the Quest Kermodes, who were looking to secure their playoff berth with a win.

Sunday’s game proved to be the most challenging for the team. Played in sub-par weather, the game was very competitive. Quest came to win, and they played hard against the Royals.

The first half was played mainly in the midfield with both teams trading possession often. Quest had a few shots on net but Rebecca Mainardi came up huge for the Royals and kept them in the game. The Royals also had drives on target and were able to apply plenty of offensive pressure on the Quest squad. An early corner kick by the Royals’ Sam Kell resulted in a beautiful finish by Marni McMillan to put the Royals up early.

Quest could not find an answer in the first half and the Royals went into second holding a 1-0 lead. The lead did not last as long as the Royals would have liked however. A misplayed ball resulted in a dangerous turnover for the Royals. Quest’s Sachi Swift cashed in on the opportunity and slotted the ball into the low corner of the net, leaving Mainardi with no chance of stopping it.

The Royals were quick to retaliate and scored shortly after on a beautiful cross to Danae Harding, who then tipped the ball in. The Royals looked strong as they held onto the lead for the rest of the game, resulting in a 2-1 win.

After the match, assistant coach Rae Pelat spoke about the team’s efforts. “There wasn’t a minute in the game where I felt like the girls didn’t want it… They couldn’t take their foot off the pedal and they didn’t.” In regard to how she felt about the injury of their keeper, Pelat had this to say: “We always have to push through adversity… and I think challenges like that make us better as a team.”

With the win, the Royals advance to 9-2-2 with 29 points. They sit at the top of the table, three points ahead of the team below them, the Vancouver Island University Mariners. Next week, the team plays VIU at home on Saturday with a chance to clinch first place. Come out and support your Royals as they fight to solidify their place as the team with the best regular season record going into the playoffs.