EDMONTON — It’s tough to question the effort of the Red Deer College Queens after they hobbled off the field at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championships on Friday, their season over.
They battled for 120 minutes to a scoreless draw with the Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves before losing 8-7 in penalty kicks.
They were battered, they were bruised and even if they had managed to pull out the win, head coach David Colley questions whether or not he’d be able to put out a full squad the next day for the semifinal against NAIT, the top team in the country.
They were not alone in that regard as the Wolves moved on just as beat up.
“I have nothing but admiration for them,” said Colley. “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a team that wasn’t going to lose. Both teams came out with the mind set that it was this or nothing.”
Injuries for the Queens included a badly bruised calf to starting goalie Lauren Good, a hyper extended knee to Moyer who was RDC’s player of the game, a strained groin for Moira Duley and an ankle injury to Roxanne Unrau.
The game was far from a pretty one to watch, as, according to Colley, the majority of it was played in the middle third of the field.
The Queens battled nerves early on with the one-and-done spectre hanging over the outcome of the game.
But as the game wore on they became more comfortable and out chanced the Wolves, isolating and shutting down GPRC’s top player, ACAC all-star Danica Blasius.
However, the Queens were unable to convert on their opportunities.
“You have five chances in a game, you better (convert) one of them,” said Colley. “When it got to the extra time, (Alexandra Moyer) met a cross beautifully from the corner and it just went over the bar and you knew then it was probably going to end off with penalty kicks.”
The game took until the ninth round of penalty kicks to be decided when a Queen hit the crossbar.
Penalty kicks are often viewed as a difficult way to lose a game, but Colley is more than fine with it.
“At least it involves the players,” he said. “I remember back in the day, if it was tied after regulation, you didn’t even have extra time, you tossed a coin.”
This will be a season for the Queens to build on as Colley expecting the majority of his players to return and losing just a few key players — likely Moira Duley and Jessica Whyte, their lone ACAC all-star, while Celine Jensen, Kaitlin D’Arcy and Teala McEwan may also move on.
“I’m expecting between 10 and 12 players back,” said Colley. “Even those guys that didn’t see much of the field this year, they know the situation, they know the level they’ve got to be at when they come back. It should make for a real interesting pre-season next year.”
NOTES —The NAIT Ooks beat Medicine Hat College 1-0 in the gold medal game, Grande Prairie beat the Concordia Thunder 1-0 for the bronze medal … In addition to Whyte being named an ACAC all-star, the Kings had two players named to the men’s all-star team, midfielders Chase Grenier and Alim Hirji.