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Defending champs shut out Renegades

Edmonton Victoria 7, Red Deer Renegades 0

After making progress in their last few outings, the Red Deer Renegades received a reminder of just how far they have to go to really challenge the best teams in the Alberta Women’s Major Soccer League this weekend.

The defending national champion Victoria Soccer Club (3-3-3) of Edmonton beat the young Renegades 7-0 at Edgar Athletic Park in Red Deer on Saturday.

Kristyn Shapka led Edmonton with three goals while Terri Kutryk had two, and Kayla Michaels and Kelsey Langille each scored once.

Victoria is stocked with veteran, NCAA recruits and players while the rebuilding Renegades lineup was filled out with high school footballers.

It wasn’t really a fair fight on any level.

“When you’re playing against Canadian champ ... it’s a learning experience and you’ve got to close the gaps faster,” said assistant coach Paul Stone.

“They move the ball around well, they’re moving into the gaps and we’re not tracking.

“We’re a very young team, we’re very inexperienced, and we’re slowly getting better, but when you’re playing against girls that are NCAA and CIS it’s tough — you’ve just got to keep your head about you and be respectful.”

The loss dropped Red Deer to 0-8-0 on the season, but after getting blown out badly the first four weeks, the Renegades started to turn things around, suffering three close losses in a row.

There were still a number of positives to pull out of Saturday’s lopsided defeat, especially their play in the second half, where they held Victoria to just two goals.

“We told them they have to get a little more physical with these girls and lay some body on them and show some desire, you’ve got to want to play,” said Stone.

“When you come out and play teams like this, you want to play against them, you’ can’t just stand around and watch.”

Also, they continued to receive strong play out of striker Kayla Blacquiere, though she was held off the score sheet, she was a threat all game long. It is those types of performances that their younger core players like Mia Gilles and Heidi Giles should take notice of.

The coaching staff is aware this season will continue to be filled with hard lessons, but it is for the greater good of the program as they work to build the club into a contender and develop players for the next level.

“It’s tough to draw, but the middle of the pack and to keep playing this competitive level is good for Red Deer College,” said Stone.

The Renegades are in Edmonton on Saturday to play the Northwest United and then host Lethbridge FC on Sunday at 11 a.m. at Edgar Athletic Park.

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