Fishing or hunting? Why not both?
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
With this week’s results in the bag, we look to next week’s scheduled action. The Royals continue their road trip next week with two away games—one game on the Vancouver Islands, followed by a game in the Fraser Valley.
Their most notable game will be against the VIU Mariners. The last time these two teams played, they racked up 10 goals between the 2 teams and split the game 5–5. While a gluttony of goals is not the expected result, fine offensive play from both teams should see an exciting game between the two at the very least.
Interestingly enough, despite the Mariners’ firepower, the team has yet to win a game. However, they’ve also yet to lose a game. In every game they’ve held the lead, they’ve also lost it. Their defence can’t hold onto a game, or it’s become a team mentality and they simply cannot hold onto a lead. Either way, this is something the Royals will want to exploit during their game next week.
It shouldn’t be too hard either. The Royals’ striker, Mikayla Hamilton, has had increasingly better performances as the season goes deeper. While she continues to get into form, the Royals will be increasingly dangerous. Incidentally, her first goal of the season came against the VIU Mariners. While she didn’t score the game after against the Quest Kermodes, she had several looks. She came back against the Blues, putting away her team’s only goal and throwing out a celebration that will be remembered for quite some time.
The team will hope that she will have even more reason to be jubilant against the Mariners. Perhaps she will pick up her first multi-goal game of the season. It would be quite foreseeable against the struggling Mariners. No matter how many goals she does end up putting in on Saturday, it’s imperative that she gets one to keep her streak rolling and get her in the scoring rhythm.
Against the Quest Kermodes, the team will need to guard against complacency. Although the Kermodes have yet to pick up a win, they are not helpless. The last time the two teams played, the Royals barely held onto the one goal lead that gave them the win. While their pressure may be good, the Royals can relax a bit when they think about Quest’s conversion rates. Despite generating chances, they simply aren’t good enough to finish.
On the flip side, their defence is quite the wall. Last week, they held the Mariners to a boring 0–0 draw with both teams cancelling each other out. The Royals themselves just barely got a ball into the net last time. However, the wall isn’t without its holes. The Kermodes team allowed Langara to convert four goals the day before that, but keep in mind that Langara is easily looking like one of the best teams in the PACWEST, and leads the standing having not been defeated.
All in all, it’s going to a tough week to call for the Royals. While a defeat to the Mariners is not unlikely, I don’t think the Royals will be the one to give VIU their first win. If anything, it’s looking like a draw once again. Against the Kermodes, a win is not a stretch. A tie is a possibility, but losing looks out of the ordinary at the moment. I expect the team to finish next week having earned at least four points, which given the right circumstances could see them jump into first, or tie for second. Any less than that will be a bit of a let down given the team’s good form of late.