Kings are in

If the RDC Kings are disappointed with their final start to the Alberta Colleges Men’s Soccer League regular season, they could well look at the old adage that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’

RDC King Keegan Sheehan and Mount Royal Cougar Colby Sawatzky fight for the ball Sunday. MRC won 4-1 but the Kings still qualified for the playoffs

Cougars 5 Kings 1

If the RDC Kings are disappointed with their final start to the Alberta Colleges Men’s Soccer League regular season, they could well look at the old adage that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’

After three seasons of floundering at the bottom of the ACAC’s South Division and failing to win a game, the Kings took a major step forward this season, capturing a playoff spot, despite a 5-1 loss to the Mount Royal University Cougars at RDC Sunday.

“It’s certainly a step in the right direction,” said Kings head coach Steve Fullarton. “You have to be pleased for the players, especially the guys who were here the last year or so.

“We took several positive steps this season. Our first win in Lethbridge was big and then winning twice in Medicine Hat and coming back here (Saturday) and beating Lethbridge (4-0) again was another major step forward.”

The Kings finished with a 4-5-1 record and in third place, two points up on Medicine Hat, who lost 1-0 to SAIT Sunday.

The Kings meet Concordia University College of Edmonton in the league quarter-finals Friday in Edmonton.

Fullarton realizes the Kings need to take another huge step forward if they expect success at the playoffs.

“It’s a big undertaking, but we’ll go and enjoy it,” he said. “These are top sides we’ll be facing and we need to defend a lot better than we did today to have success. But then who knows it’s a one-game playoff.”

Josh McIntyre scored the Kings lone goal Sunday while Justin Farenik had two goals and Kyle Yamada, Charlie Beaulieu and Jonathan Cherkas one each for the Cougars, 6-2-1.

“They are a very, very good side, and punish you every time you make a mistake” said Fullarton. “In the first half today we played very tentatively as if we believed we couldn’t keep the ball away from them. Our transition game wasn’t good and we had a lot of turnovers. The second half was better, but we didn’t create much.”

The SAIT Trojans are first in the league with a 6-0-3 record, two points up on Mount Royal. The teams meet Tuesday to determine first place.

NAIT was first in the north at 8-1-1 with Concordia at 8-2-0 and Grant MacEwan at 6-4-0.

Cougars 2 Queens 1

The Queens knew going into their meeting with the Cougars they had a playoff spot wrapped up. The only question was which one.

Despite the 2-1 loss to the Cougars, the Queens finished second in the south when the Medicine Hat Rattlers dumped the SAIT Trojans 2-1 grab third place.

“We’ll take it,” said Queens head coach Jerry Gerling. “No matter which position we finished in the playoffs will be tough. We need to be at the top of our game.”

The Queens finished with a 4-4-2 record and will face Grant MacEwan University in the quarter-finals in Calgary Friday. Mount Royal, 8-1-1 was first in the south with Medicine Hat third at 4-5-1. Concordia, 8-0-2, was first and Grande Prairie, 6-1-3, second in the north with MacEwan at 6-3-1.

Kassie Pritchard scored the Queens lone goal Sunday while Samantha Humphrys and Kristen Roeke connected for MRU.

“I have mixed feeling about the game,” said Gerling. “We went into the match with the idea of working on our defensive play and I think to a large extend we accomplished what we set out to do against a very good team. Both their goals came on mistakes, but then so did ours. Then again it is sports and it’s all about taking advantage of the breaks you get.

“Overall our defence was OK, but our offence needs to be better.”

The Queens offence has struggled of late, ever since they lost Katelyn LaGrange with a knee injury. As well, fifth-year defender Samantha Vockeroth went down with a thigh injury in the second half.

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