Women’s soccer preview: September 17

Photo by Davie Wong
Photo by Davie Wong

Blue is the warmest colour

By Davie Wong, Sports Editor

No one can say that the Royals women’s soccer team lacked effort this week. To their credit, they tried their collective hearts out. But opening weekend is probably the hardest week the team has all season, and the results reflected that. The team went 1–1–1 against Langara, VIU, and Quest. While 4 points isn’t the best, it’s nearly .500, and that isn’t the worst.

The win and tie under their belt will serve the team well next week as they take on the Capilano Blues, who stand at 1–0–1, with a win against Quest this week and a tie against Langara.

As far as strength levels go, I’d say both teams are about level. However, that could change very quickly. The Blues are on the island playing VIU on Saturday, and that game will really let the Royals know what level the Blues are on.

The results against VIU will also be crucial to the Blues. A crushing defeat could send them home dejected and in poor form, which would be ideal for the Royals to capitalize on, but a win or tie could boost the team’s confidence, which could spell trouble—especially if the Blues find a way to get their offence started against the strangely defensively weak VIU.

Other than circumstances out of the Royals control, there are a few things the Royals will need to do going into Sunday to ensure a win, one of which is to tighten up defensively. Overall, this weekend, the team allowed six goals in total. An average of two goals a game isn’t bad, but when you consider that five of those were in a single game, and that the goalkeeper bailed the team out to a clean sheet, it seems a little more stretched. While Capilano is by no means an offensive powerhouse, they did manage to put away three goals this weekend in two games. An average of 1.5 goals a game is on par with the Royals average of 2 goals allowed per game, but if the Royals want anything other than a tie, they will need to step it up.

The other thing they will need to figure out is just how their offence works. While the six goals this weekend were great, they all came from different individuals, except for Andrea Perrotta’s two against VIU. This could mean a few things. Either the Royals getting goals from everywhere and everyone means they’re a strong offensive team, or the Royals haven’t really figured out who their go-to goal scorer is yet. Keep in mind, the Royals lost their top two goal scorers this offseason, who were also the best goal scorers in PACWEST. It’s natural that the beginning of this season would showcase a wide array of offensive talent. But the player who stepped into the shoes of the former Royals strikers seems to be struggling the most.

Mikayla Hamilton scored once this weekend off a wonderful shot against VIU. But other than that goal, she seemed to struggle to get decent chances throughout the three games. It isn’t for a lack of effort either. Andrea Perrotta has been fantastic for the Royals offence, supplying through ball after through ball and crafting wonderful chances with pinpoint passes. They just haven’t been converted on. If Perrotta and Hamilton get on the same wave-length, and Hamilton snipes a goal once or twice a game, the Royals could easily look to be one of the deadlier teams in PACWEST. If not, Chris Laxton may have to figure out how to support his striker, and take some pressure off of her by giving Perrotta another target to pass to.

Regardless, the match against the Blues will be another chance for the Royals to get three points. A win would give them a huge boost in the standings, if results elsewhere go their way.