By Davie Wong
Coming into the Royals road game against the Quest Kermodes, the team knew they need to bounce back and land on their feet. After a tough loss to the Capilano Blues the week before, the Royals faced the Kermodes and the VIU Mariners in a midseason double-header.
In Squamish, the Kermodes brought the heat. A fiery start saw the Kermodes test Royals' keeper Nicole Scott multiple times in the first half. Despite it being Scott's first start, she was flawless after 45. Meanwhile, the Royals offensive guns were not silenced. A foul earned Madison Hendry a chance for her first goal of the season from the spot. She pounced on the chance, converting the PK and giving the Royals a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute.
Minutes later, it was Mikayla Hamilton on the score sheet, splashing her first goal of the season. After 45, it was 2-0 Royals. The second half saw both sides turn on the jets, but neither side could solve the other's goalkeeper. Nicole Scott made a couple more saves to earn her first clean sheet in her first PACWEST start, and the Royals took a 2-0 win with them as they left Squamish to head home.
The next day came with a whole new challenge. The VIU Mariners had come a knocking, and this time they were on the Royals home turf. It didn't take long for the Royals to make their presence known. Mikayla Hamilton found a gap in the defence and before VIU could look twice she was gone. Left with only Alex DeMille to beat, Hamilton blasted the ball into the back of the net, giving the Royals a 1-0 lead.
20 minutes later, the Royals were pressing again. A cross blocked by a handball in the box earned the Royals a chance to double their lead. Sam Kell would be the one to step up and take the shot, making it look easy as she slipped the ball past the VIU keeper. But VIU wouldn't remain down. With seconds left in the half, fifth year midfielder Moira Brown sent a banger into the top corner of the Royals' net, leaving no chance for Nicole Scott to make the save.
With a 2-1 lead headed into the second half, all the Royals had to do was hold on. But defensive football isn't exactly the kind of football the Royals enjoy. It didn't take long for the Royals to make their way back down the field and begin pressuring again. Their efforts earned them yet another penalty kick as Mikayla Hamilton was fouled contesting for a cross in the box. Once again, Sam Kell was called upon to take the kick, and she blew open the game with another goal, her second of the game, and a league leading fifth on the year
While Kell's goal certainly counted for insurance, it was never needed as the Royals managed to hold off VIU's attempts at coming back. With the win, the Royals advanced to a record of 3-1-1, and 10 points on the season. They currently sit atop the PACWEST table, with Capilano and VIU trailing them by 4 points, tied for second at 6 a team.
The Royals will look to add to their record as they take on the undefeated Langara Falcons tomorrow at 7:30 PM, and the Capilano Blues on Saturday at 1:00 PM. Both games will be played on Cunnings Fields. Come out and support your Royals!