Although the late Al Davis was talking football when said "Just win, baby," his words apply to anything.
It may be the mantra for the Douglas College Royals women's soccer team this weekend.
The Royals enter Friday's PacWest semifinal (2:30 p.m. at Burnaby Lake West complex) as slight favourites against the rival Capilano University Blues, but what was accomplished over the past two months is now mere window dressing.
A berth to the league final on Saturday -- where regular season champion Vancouver Island University awaits -- is the prize.
For the loser, there's always next year.
Douglas enters the game on the heels of a 2-0 loss to the Mariners last Sunday, in a tilt where a pair of late goals locked the New West team to a 6-3-3 record, two wins back of VIU.
Although Vancouver Island had already clinched top spot, they were not about to give their rivals much room in the mean-nothing contest.
"I just felt we were rushing our decisions and not executing to our best," said Douglas coach Chris Laxton. "We didn't generate any cornerkicks in the first 75 minutes, but after they scored (their first goal) we kind of found some urgency and got two or three over the final 15 minutes."
It proved too little, too late. A day earlier, the Royals' offence was in sharp form, cashing in five times in a 5-1 victory over Langara.
Rachel Kilbrai opened the scoring 22 minutes into the game, followed a handful of minutes later by Sarah Burns. While the Falcons got on the scoresheet in the 33rd minute, New West native and freshman Taylor Spong answered back with her fourth of the season. That tied her with Alyssa Lum for the team lead.
Madison Martin tallied twice in the second half to complete the scoring.
"I thought it was a good showing and the team played with a lot of freedom and confidence," remarked the coach. "That's the way we need to continue if we want to keep playing past this weekend."
Friday's opponent, Capilano, enters the playoffs on a 5-1-0 run, including victories in recent weeks over Douglas (1-0 on Oct. 6) and VIU (1-0, Oct. 19). In the last Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association poll, the Blues were ranked 12th, while Douglas sat eighth overall.
The Royals posted a 2-1-1 record against the Blues during the season.
"We're looking at a few different ways to exploit the space on the field," said Laxton. "(Capilano) is a tough team. ... We're still a very first-year heavy team so the players bring a variety of experience. They've all played at high levels."
The winner of Friday's semifinal advances to Saturday's showdown with VIU (2:30 p.m., Burnaby Lake West). The PacWest champion will move on to represent B.C. at the CCAA championships, Nov. 11 to 14 in Toronto.
On Thursday, the PacWest women's soccer conference all-star team was announced, with the Royals placing a quartet on the 11-player list. Earning a second straight nomination was Hannah dela Cruz, a sophomore defender from Delta, five-year midfielder Taylor Wettig of Surrey, Lum and Spong.
The earnest rookie from the Royal City was also named the league's 2019 co-rookie of the year, sharing the award with Vancouver Island's Taylor Kinley.