Royals headed to PACWEST Women's Soccer Championships

Royals headed to PACWEST Women's Soccer Championships

The stakes were high on Saturday afternoon.

If Douglas won, they would clinch a spot at the PACWEST Women's Soccer Championships. The same was the case for Langara. In the event of a draw, it would come down to the results of the following day.

The game's opening was understandably nervous. A mishit strike from the Falcons in the opening minutes pinged around in the box before being cleared off the line by Hannah dela Cruz. After the near-catasrophe early on, the game settled down and the bulk of the match's opening half was played in the middle third of the pitch. 

It took until the midpoint of the half for the Royals to get a clear-cut chance - a rebound bounced out to Neeraj Braich at the top of the box, whose ambitious effort was parried away by the Falcons goalkeeper. Langara had their own chance minutes later, but Alexa Gazzola was equal to the task. 

Sam Kell was playing her final regular season match for the Royals after an incredible career with Douglas College, and got a huge chance right at the end of the half that sailed just north of the crossbar.

The Royals kicked off the second half with a huge offensive push. Mikaela Montagano set up Mikayla Hamilton with a great through ball, but Sierra Greico handled the effort. Montagano had her own opportunity but the resulting shot went over the bar, before Hamilton's second shot of the night found the back of the net to put the Royals in front.

With their season on the line, the Falcons pushed forward, but their best effort was stifled by Gazzola. With the entire team on the front foot, there was ample space for a counterattack. Sofia Flores-Aguilera got on the end of a long ball and unleashed an incredible shot from distance that nestled into the top corner and doubled the Royals lead. 

The Royals held on, and will compete in the PACWEST Women's Soccer Championships this weekend. Their second-place conference finish sets up a semi-final matchup with the Capilano Blues on Friday at noon.