This past weekend, for the eighth time since the 1999-2000 season, the Douglas College Royals men's soccer team once again captured the PACWEST Conference championship gold medal, defeating the Capilano University Blues and the Vancouver Island University Mariners.
Their first order of business on was to take on the Capilano University Blues in a much-anticipated semi-final matchup.
The Royals kickstarted the game with multiple shots on goal until the 10th minute when third year forward and eventual tournament top forward Taylor Richardson, opened the scoring with a strike off a rolling cross ball sent by Alejandro Varela.
Douglas's offensive momentum would continue as Rafael Domingos netted a goal off a PK in the 29th minute. R. Domingos would continue his stellar play throughout the tournament eventually earning MVP honours.
The Royals offense finished the first half outshooting the Blues fourteen to three.
As the second half commenced the Royals offense slowed down due to some foul trouble, while Capilano's offence began to pick up the pace.
However, this would not be an issue for the Royals, as third year goaltender Felipe Domingos and the rest of the Royal's defence were up to the test. F.Domingos would earn the clean sheet and help the Royals advance to the gold medal game against the number one seed VIU.
During the regular season, the Royals and the Mariners split their four matchups with the first two games going to VIU, and the last two games ending in Douglas's favour.
The gold medal game opened with a close shot on goal by the third leading goal scorer in the conference, Royals forward Milan Gandesha.
After a couple minutes of back and forth possession, the Mariners offense broke out into the Royals zone with four shots in seven minutes but this time it was centerbacks Adam Qumizakis and team captain Burhan Waisy who made amazing defensive plays to keep the game even.
Later in the half the Royals came with an offensive push of their own with four shots in less than three minutes, as Gandesha, Richardson, and Waisy all had a crack at opening the scoring but sending their shots wide.
The half ended with what could've been a goal of the year candidate as third year defender Rozmehr Aghabaygy dangled his way through a couple of Mariners and shot the ball from outside the box just a tad bid high off the net.
The second half saw the Royals offense continue to generate scoring chances and it all seemed like it paid off in the 65th minute when second year midfielder Quinn Desaulniers headed the ball into the net. Unfortunately for the Royals that play was ruled an offside.
The Royals didn't let that slow them down and continued to persist on a goal, to which it finally paid off in the 79th minute when second year forward and gold medal player of the game Yianni Siafakas fired a shot from outside the box and into the net to give Douglas the 1-0 lead.
In the last ten minutes of the game the Mariners now facing elimination were trying to get even with the Royals, but the top goaltender in the tournament Felipe Domingos and the Royal's defensive efforts were too much for them, as the Royals went on to clinch the PACWEST championships and are now headed to Toronto to play in the CCAA National championships.
"We had a great game, we knew we were going to win, we're passionate about the game, and that mattered to us was winning" said Siafakas.
This conference championship win is truly remarkable considering how a month ago the Royals were third in the PACWEST conference with a record of 2-4-1.
When talking about how he far he felt the team has come, Head Coach Robby Toor said:
"I told them [Team] that at the halfway point we would be the team to beat and I think the players really wanted to show the league and all the doubters that."
The Royals will now advance to the CCAA men's soccer national championship in Toronto and a first-round match-up against host Durham College, Wednesday November 6, 2019 at 2:30pm PST.
Tournament MVP - Rafael Domingos (DOUG)