The Red Deer College Kings pulled off the upset of the Lakeland Rustlers on Saturday, but it still was not enough to keep their Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference men’s soccer season going.
The Kings crushed the previously undefeated Lakeland Rustlers 7-4 on Saturday at Red Deer College, but due to a tie between the SAIT Trojan and the Medicine Hat College Rattlers, RDC will miss provincials due to a head-to head tie breaker.
“It’s a hard one to take,” said Kings head coach Steve Fullarton. “Overall, we were five goals better than Medicine Hat, but they were able to take points of fate and we weren’t.”
The Kings (5-2-3) went into the weekend one point up on SAIT (5-2-3) and Medicine Hat (5-2-3) for the final playoff spot, except the Kings had just one game to play while SAIT and Medicine Hat both had two, including a Sunday showdown between the two schools.
SAIT beat Lethbridge 2-1 on Saturday while Medicine Hat beat Olds College 2-0 to pull themselves within one point of RDC heading into their final match on Sunday. They then tied 0-0, deadlocking the three teams at 18 points. In head-to-head match ups, the three teams all carried a 1-1-2 record, but SAIT had a plus-two goal differential, MHC was even and RDC was at minus-two.
This leaves the Kings on the outside of the playoff picture.
“We actually lost fewer games this season than we did last season, except we won the bronze medal last season,” said Fullarton. “It’s a very competitive league and it was nice to finish on a high note yesterday, to give Lakeland their first defeat of the season. The players have been absolutely brilliant this year for us.”
On Saturday, Mark Ibberton led the Kings with three goals while Andrew Jevne, Dallas Hughes, Alim Hirji and Kirk Moody also scored while Morgan Drews picked up the win in net.
Stefan Cukovic scored all four goals for Lakeland (7-1-2) while Alex Campos took the loss in net.
“We saved our best for last,” said Fullarton. “We started off really, really well but our performance level dropped then we picked it up again and then it dropped a bit, but we dug in and we were determined not to lose this game.”
The game became much more complicated than it needed to be in the second half.
After RDC ran out to a 4-1 lead through the first 45 minutes, Lakeland slowly cut the lead to 4-3. But the Kings responded with three late goals, including two from Ibberton, to put the game on ice.
“We came in with the right mentality for once,” said Ibberton. “We’ve played a lot of games this year and not went to our full potential and today we showed the league what we’re capable of.”
Unfortunately, it still wasn’t enough. RDC did well to stay in the playoff picture all season, despite a rash of injuries — Saturday’s game was their first of the season with a fully healthy lineup.
“We had a lot go our way during the season, we were hoping it was going to extend one more day, but it wasn’t to be,” said Fullarton.
Queens 5, Rustlers 2
Sydney Daines showed she is more than capable of handling a busy weekend schedule.
The RDC Queens freshman striker competed in a barrel racing competition on Friday night in Ponoka, then came back in time to score four goals and lead the Queens (7-2-1) to a 5-2 win over the Lakeland Rustlers (2-6-2) on Saturday.
Celine Jensen had the other RDC goal.
Leesa Eggum scored both goals for Lakeland College.
“It just sometimes happens to be a good game and it was today,” said Daines.
Kaitlin D’Arcy assisted on all four of Daines’ goals and picked up player of the game honours.
“She put in some really good crosses today and I was just lucky enough to finish them,” said Daines.
The Queens actually came out slow in the first 20 minutes and the Rustlers jumped on it with Eggum scoring to give them the early lead. But RDC Settled down after that and scored the next five goals before Eggum scored again in the final minutes close out the game.
“They came out thinking it was going to be a cake walk and it was anything but,” said Colley.
The win concluded the ACAC women’s soccer regular season and further cemented the Queens second seed for provincials. They finished the season two points back of the Medicine Hat College Rattlers (8-1-0) for first place.
The Lethbridge Kodiaks (4-4-1) finished in third place with 13 points, edging out the SAIT Trojans (4-4-1) in a tie-break for the final playoff spot.
Despite there not being much on the line in this game, it was important to finish strong and build some momentum. The Queens started out the season slow, but have won their last seven matches.
“We have a great winning streak now and we’re high up nationally ranked (10th), and so this will bring us up higher,” said Daines. “This is a great game to bring us into playoffs next week.”
The Queens now head to Edmonton for provincials hosted by NAIT (10-0-0) and will play the Grande Prairie Wolves (5-3-1) in their first game on Friday.