It was far from perfect, but Red Deer College Kings head coach Steve Fullarton is happy with four out of six points they pulled out of the opening weekend of Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s soccer.
On Saturday they rallied late to tie the Medicine Hat Rattlers 2-2 and on Sunday they held on to beat the Lethbridge Kodiaks 3-2 in a pair of home games.
“It was a big improvement from (Saturday), but still no where close to good enough,” said Fullarton, noting the team looked much sharper in the second game. “It was just important to get the three points, it wasn’t pretty but we’ll take it.”
Alim Hirji scored in the final two minutes on Saturday to force the 2-2 tie while Mark Ibbotson also tallied for RDC while Luke Owen was solid in goal. Bernardo Reinosa Ramirez and Austion Desharnais replied for Medicine Hat College.
On Sunday, Kirk Moody got RDC on the board in the eighth minute and Andrew Jevne in the 33rd minute and Hirji in the 38th minute gave Red Deer a 3-0 lead heading into the break.
But the Kings lost their intensity in the second half and the Kodiaks capitalized.
In the 65th minute, Koffi Akpaloo-Nyavor stole a poorly played ball by the Kings defender and walked in alone and buried the ball past Owen in net.
Then in the second minute of injury time, Braydon Jetten scored on a penalty kick after a controversial foul called in the RDC box. The Kodiaks had other opportunity to score, like a missed penalty kick by Brent Wileman early in the second half, that could have led to a much different final score.
“We made it difficult for ourselves,” said Fullarton. “We can’t be sloppy like that.”
But there are some positives for Fullarton to pull on, like the emergence of Benjamin Schultz and Alex Ingraham on the back line and the return of Andrew Jevne, solidifying a defence that lost some big pieces after last year.
Still, there is a need for continued improvement in that department as well.
“We really need them to be a bit more focused back there, at times we ball watched instead of taking our shape at the back, but that comes with games and experience as well,” said Fullarton.
Up next for the Kings is a single game road trip to Lloydminster to play the Lakeland College Rustlers on Saturday.
The Red Deer College Queens dug themselves a big hole on the opening weekend of ACAC women’s soccer, dropping both of their home games.
On Saturday, they were unable to rally past the Medicine Hat Rattlers, losing 4-3, then on Sunday, they dropped a frustrating 2-1 match to the Lethbridge Kodiaks.
In a short 10-game schedule, there is not a lot of room for error.
“We went into the season, with the players we had, of going to the playoffs, we still have those expectations, but now it’s really tough,” said Queens head coach David Colley.
Moira Duley scored twice in RDC’s loss on Saturday while Celine Jensen got the other and Lauren Good took the loss in net. Kaylie Klaiber had two goals to lead MHC and Linnea Henke and Meagan Clarke each score once.
On Sunday, Jess Whyte score the Queens’ lone goal while Good once again was in net for the defeat. The Kodiaks resoponded with goals from Lyndee Saler and Sarah Orban while Emily Goodfrey got the win.
By the end of the second game, the Queens were already starting to see the injuries mount, likely losing Savannah Pratt for the season with an knee injury while others suffered a series of minor bumps and bruises and others still succumbed to the heat of the early afternoon, blowing a 1-0 lead at half time.
Still the Queens had their opportunities to tie the game, including a late penalty kick by Daines that was stopped by Goodfrey.
“By the end of the game, I didn’t have a single substitute that wasn’t injured, but it was still kind of disappointing to see everyone panic and go from the team shape and the team performance to everybody playing as individuals and wanting to be the player that made the difference,” said Colley.
On Saturday the Queens will also be in Lloydminster, where they hope to rebound from these early defeats.