In a thrilling PACWEST men’s soccer semi-final that went the distance and then some, it was the #3 seed Langara College Falcons who defeated the #2 Douglas College Royals in penalty kicks to earn a spot in tomorrow’s final and clinch a berth to the CCAA Nationals.
After conceding a late game-tying goal with seconds left in stoppage time, Langara kept Douglas off the score sheet in extra time and then persevered in round six of penalties for a 1-1 (4-3) win. Falcons goalkeeper Kevin Monk made three saves in the shootout, and was named Player of the Game.
Langara got on the board first in the 34th minute on a brilliant strike by rookie defender James Millar. After a partial clearing attempt by Douglas, Millar ran onto a bouncing ball and fired a volley into the top right corner from around 40 yards out to put the Falcons in front.
The Falcons had several other chances to extend their lead, including a pair of breakaways for PACWEST Rookie of the Year Emmanuel Ekeh, but Royals goalkeeper Jared Horvath made some impressive stops to keep his team in the game.
Douglas controlled a good portion of the play in the second half, and were finally rewarded in stoppage time with a late equalizer. After a throw-in into the box, Race Williams’ volley bounced towards the far post and Tomi Fagbongbe finished off the play — just getting the ball across the line before it was cleared away.
After no scoring in 30 minutes of extra time, the two sides went to penalties. Millar scored first for Langara, and Monk stopped Edris Najm to give Langara the early advantage. Both teams converted in the second and third rounds, and then in the fourth Horvath stopped Collin Hempel — yet the Royals couldn’t capitalize, as Monk made a superb diving stop on David Suh to keep the Falcons in front.
Langara had a chance to end it in the fifth round, but Horvath stopped Taku Ota and Tomi Fagbongbe then scored for the Royals to force a sixth round. The semifinal came to a close in the sixth, as Craig Tillotson made no mistake before Monk denied Taylor Richardson to secure the win.
Langara now faces #1 seed Capilano University in the PACWEST final, which is at 2:30pm at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex West. Both teams have qualified for the CCAA Nationals, hosted by Holland College in Charlottetown, PEI.
Story by CJ Pentland