Royals Soccer 2018-19 Season Recap

Royals Soccer 2018-19 Season Recap


The Royals women's soccer team started their season with their spot at nationals already secure. As hosts of the 2018 CCAA Women's Soccer Nationals, Douglas received a place in the tournament. This didn't render the regular season moot, though - far from it. Finishing top 3 in the PACWEST conference would give the Royals a chance at capturing PACWEST gold for the second year in a row, which would in turn grant Douglas champion's seeding at the national tournament. With the host's seeding being the lowest available, a victory at the provincial tournament would prevent a first round matchup with Garneau, who were riding a streak of four consecutive national titles.

Douglas started the season strong with a 2-0 defeat of Langara and a hard-fought 3-3 draw at Capilano. The following weekend started well, with a 3-2 road win over the VIU Mariners, but in the second game of their trip to VIU, things started to go wrong. The Royals finished out the month by losing 4 of their final 5 games in September, all by the same score of 1-0. In every game they played well defensively, in every game they let in a single goal that they couldn't have really been faulted for, but in every game, they could not for the life of them find the back of the net. The single goal scored by the Royals in the second half of September came in a 1-0 win of their own at Capilano, but the Royals were snakebitten to an astonishing degree in the opening month of the season.

The Royals steadied themselves with a pair of draws against Langara and VIU before finishing the regular season strong with a pair of wins. The final win was crucial, as they needed all three points to secure their place at the PACWEST championships. Sofia Flores-Aguilera's incredible goal from distance served as an insurance marker to send the Royals to the provincial championship.

In the PACWEST final, the scoreline that had haunted the team all season reared its ugly head once again. Facing the Capilano Blues for a spot in the PACWEST final, the Royals once again put in a stellar defensive effort, once again could not buy a goal, and once again lost 1-0. It was disappointing, but not season-ending, as the Royals still had a chance to make noise at nationals.

With the host's seed, the Royals indeed ran into the top team in the country, Les Élans de Garneau, in the opening round. The Royals fought valiantly and held les Élans to just a single goal in the first half while generating a flurry of chances of their own, but again had trouble converting on their chances. In the second half of the quarterfinal match, the ten-time champions took over, as Audrey Genois finished off her hat trick and Frédérique Métivier added a fourth goal to place the championship out of reach for Douglas.

In the bronze semifinal, the Royals and NAIT Ooks fought to a 0-0 draw, and after extra time solved nothing, the match went to penalties, where Alexa Gazzola stopped the first NAIT shooter to set the tone. In the final round of spot-kicks, it was the keeper Gazzola who scored the goal to send the hosts to the bronze-medal match.

The bronze-medal match proved heartbreaking for Douglas, as a 1-1 tie was broken in the 84th minute by the Fanshawe Falcons to lift them over the Royals.

The Royals received three all-star selections in 2018, for rookies Hannah dela Cruz and Mikaela Montagano, as well as fifth-year veteran Sam Kell, who also earned CCAA All-Canadian honours.

The Royals men's soccer team came into the 2018 season with a point to prove. In 2017, they won the PACWEST championship, and made it all the way to the CCAA Men's Soccer National Championship gold medal game before a heartbreaking loss to conference rival and tournament host Vancouver Island University.

Douglas was one of the best teams in the country all season, and showed it right from the off with a 3-0 drubbing of Langara in their home opener. The next week, eventual conference all-star Race Williams scored a hat trick in a 4-2 defeat of last year's national champions, following it up with a two goal performance the very next day to earn a hard-fought draw. Williams placed second in the province with 10 goals on the year, and had his fair share of assists as well.

As they continued to roll through the conference with only the scattered loss or draw, it became clear that the regular season would come down to two teams - the Royals and the Capilano Blues. Douglas was keeping pace with the North Vancouver side on wins, but the Blues were scoring more goals, and in the event of an identical record, goal differential would decide the first-place position. This was crucial - there were two spots allocated to PACWEST teams for the upcoming national tournament, and they would go to the two teams who made the final, regardless of regular season record. As a result, the first-placed team in the regular season essentially received an automatic place at nationals, while the second-placed side would have to win their semi-final matchup against the third-placed side.

It came down to the final weekend of play. Both Capilano and Douglas were expected to win their games, which would give them identical 8-2-2 records. The Blues, however, had 11 more goals than Douglas coming into the weekend. At this point, most teams would settle for second and hope to beat the team they encountered in the semifinal. The Royals instead kicked into overdrive. Tomi Fagbongbe scored just two minutes into the match, setting the tone for a blowout where the Royals scored 8 goals. There were tap-ins, top-corner strikes, and even a goal from Royals keeper Karn Sahota, who was substituted into the game at forward in the dying minutes to provide an aerial threat. Despite the decimation of their opposition, the unfortunate Langara Falcons, an 8-0 result was not quite enough to push the Royals towards the top spot in the conference.

The second-place finish set up a semi-final match with the very same team they had just demolished, the Langara Falcons. The Falcons wanted to win this game badly, and showed it with an incredible strike in the 34th minute from James Millar. The goal of the season candidate was demoralizing, but the Royals came out flying in the second half. It seemed as though their efforts would be for nought before Tomi Fagbongbe scored in the final minute of stoppage time to send the game to added time. The match would go to penalties, but in the sixth round Langara scored while Taylor Richardson was denied by a sprawling Kevin Monk to send the Falcons to the final and to nationals, bringing the Royals season to a close.

Edris Najm, Race Williams and Taylor Richardson were 2018 PACWEST All-Star selections.