The RDC soccer teams head into the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championships on a roll.
Both teams turned in a solid performance in their final two regular season games, putting together an undefeated weekend on their home turf.
The Queens wrapped up first place in the South Division with an 8-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Rattlers Saturday then secured an undefeated regular season – 8-0-2 – with a 2-0 win over the Lethbridge Kodiaks Sunday.
The Kings were as impressive as they downed the Rattlers 3-1 Saturday, and that coupled with a 3-2 Lethbridge win at Lakeland, gave the Kings third place in the South and a playoff spot. The Kings finished the weekend with a 2-2 draw with the first-place Kodiaks despite resting the majority of their top players.
The only real negative for the Queens came late Saturday when outstanding keeper Lauren Good was taken out when her own player was knocked into her. She fell, breaking her right thumb and dislocating her left shoulder. She indicated Sunday she was hoping to take a shot and return, but that will be tough.
However, Queens outstanding midfielder Kaitlin D’Arcy, who did play goal earlier in her career, stepped in as the keeper Sunday and didn’t look out of place.
“It was pretty nerve-racking at the beginning, but in warmup Kat (goalie coach Katrina Loiselle) made sure I got back on it. Once I got the feel for the ball it was just the same,” she said.
A benefit is the Queens have one of the premier defences in the league.
“I have a lot of confidence in them,” said D’Arcy. “I know they will work as hard for me as I will work for them.”
Queens head coach Dave Colley has a lot of confidence in D’Arcy as well.
“She has great feet and her goal kicks are no problem … she did a great job. And we do have a strong defence. You can look at the fact we had a slight injury and moved Taylor (Heist) back to left back and she stepped up for us.
“But that’s what’s happened all weekend. Our bench players came in and did the job. Most teams in the league would love to have our bench players as starters.”
Olivia Orman gave the Queens a 1-0 lead in the first half as she chipped a close-in shot past the Lethbridge keeper and into the top corner. Sydney Daines, who scored four times on Saturday, finished her regular season with 13 goals when she took a loose ball and chipped it over the retreating keeper.
The Queens received a bye into the semifinals Saturday in Grande Prairie between the winner of the Concordia-Medicine Hat quarter-final.
D’Arcy believes the strong showing this weekend has to help.
“We definitely will take the success from this weekend into the provincials,” she said. “We talked about the fact we didn’t need to win this game (against Lethbridge) but we did need it for momentum. The provincials will be tough but these were two big wins.”
Nicole Friedl also had two goals and Raxanne Unrau and Orman one each against Medicine Hat.
The Kings have been one of the better teams in the South Division during the second half of the season and they showed that again during the weekend, especially on Sunday, when they twice came from behind to tie.
“I was very happy … very proud of them,” said Kings head coach Steve Fullarton, who was making his final appearance as RDC head coach at home Sunday.
“A lot of guys didn’t play today, but I told the others that today was an opportunity to show what they can do and possibly earn a spot for next weekend. They did just that and to take a point off the top team in the division, and to finish third out-right is impressive.”
The Kings finished with a 5-4-1 record and four points up on Lakeland, who they went into the weekend tied with. The Kings face NAIT in the quarter-finals Friday at Keyano College in Fort McMurray.
Nico Pasquotti gave the Kodiaks a 1-0 lead in the first half with Jeremy Gopal tying it minutes later. The second half remained tied until the final 15 minutes when Pasquotti was credited with his second goal when a corner kick deflected in off RDC’s Bruno Damian.
However, the Kings refused to die and Damian made up for the miscue when he drove the net and had the ball deflect in.
“The guys were full of confidence and it was nice to see Bruno get that tying goal after their second goal,” said Fullarton.
“We sat out a lot of guys, but we have faith in our bench. It’s the deepest bench we’ve had and they all work hard and are technically strong.”
Mark Ibbotson scored twice and Alim Hirji once on Saturday. Haydn McLean was in goal against Medicine Hat, replacing starter Luke Owen, who was in his fourth game of a four-game suspension. McLean was solid in the four starts, recording three wins.
Owen was back Sunday.