A season-ending loss did not faze the Douglas College Royals men's soccer team.
With first place locked up following a 6-1 win over provincial championship host Quest University the day before, the Royals coasted to a 4-3 defeat to the Langara Falcons in the final game of the PacWest regular season at BCIT on Sunday.
The loss was the first of the season for the 10-1-3 Royals and ended a six-game winning streak for the first-place squad.
"Today is just a hiccup," said Douglas head coach Joe Ormerod. "We're going to be healthy going into the playoffs and we're happy with that."
The Royals trailed 2-0 at halftime, but quickly drew even, tying the score with two early second-half goals from Amrit Hothi and Gagan Josan.
But Langara, which needed a win to have any chance of bouncing Kwantlen from the fourth-and-final playoff spot, responded with back-to-back goals to regain a two-goal advantage.
Ronnie Johal drew Douglas to within one goal with a free kick from outside the 30-yard box just before the final whistle.
"We had to be careful with injuries and yellow cards, and we had to play smart," said Royals' captain Dylan Myers. "But we have high aspirations for the provincials next week."
Douglas will enter the PacWest provincial championships against No. 4 seed Kwantlen at the Squamish campus on Saturday.
The men's bronze-medal game will take place on Sunday morning, with the gold-medal final scheduled for 1 p.m.
"We know how we played. The other teams will only see the results on paper," added Myers, on the team's only loss of the regular season. "Every time we step on the pitch, we expect to win."
Douglas is in a unique position as host of the Canadian Colleges' national championships next month.
Win or lose at the provincials, Douglas will claim a spot at the nationals. The one true incentive is to come out of this weekend's competition with the best possible seeding.
But the Royals have other reasons to make these provincial playoffs a memorable one.
Last year, Douglas had a promising post season nullified by fielding an ineligible player.
A year earlier, the Royals were upset in the provincial semifinals after a regular season title.
"We choked in the semis in 2010. We definitely want to erase that (memory) in these provincials," said Myers, a fourth-year defender. "In school sports there is no next year. Everyone is focused on this season.
"It's a short season, but a tough season, and we don't want to come out and not perform."
Douglas will host the nationals at Cunnings Field at Town Centre Park in Coquitlam from Nov. 7 to 10.
The Royals won the Canadian college men's soccer title in 2005.
Douglas also picked up the first of two bronze medals in 2003, when it last hosted the nationals.
The Royals also made the national final in 2002 in Quebec, where they claimed a second-place medal.
The provincial women's championships take place on Friday and Saturday at Quest University in Squamish.