Victoria 7 Renegades 0
All season the Red Deer Renegades have been taking steps forward, but on Sunday, they finally took one back.
The Renegades wilted in the second half of an all out assault by the top offensive club in the Alberta Major Women’s Soccer League as they were drubbed 7-0 by Edmonton Victoria at Great Chief Park.
The result is a bit of a disappointment for the Renegades who through eight games are still searching for their first victory of the season and had come close in their three previous matches.
“We’re right there — our team is finally set now and we’re getting together on the same page and the girls are starting to work off each other,” said Renegades head coach Kurt Von Hollen.
“We’re right there — this team isn’t even 5-0 better than us, they’re more like 2-0 better — it’s disappointing.”
The Renegades did show that they were capable of playing with Victoria (6-1-1), and only trailed 1-0 at the half, but the flood gates opened in the second and Edmonton showed their level, unloading with six more goals.
Veteran Renegades sweeper Amber Regnier says their biggest issue is experience — with just a few veterans on the team, they have had difficulty responding to adversity all season.
“We’re lacking some depth right now. We get to the half and things fell apart on us. It seems as soon as we get down by two (goals) it seems to fall apart after that. We’ve got a few vets trying to hold it together but it’s not happening,” said the sixth year Renegade.
“We have a lot of young players and I think it’s more of a mental game for us. I think we have the skill but we’re making mental errors that’s making most of these goals happen, and then people get down on themselves and that’s when more come.”
The Renegades had trouble mounting any attack at all in the second half, registering just three legitimate chances with only two shots on net and no sustained pressure.
“I think if we could put our offensive opportunities away we’d be better off, but we are lacking in offensive attack,” said Regnier, 21. “Once they start scoring we tend to sit back and start waiting, which doesn’t make sense because we should be attacking.”
It has been several difficult seasons in a row now for the Renegades, but Regnier insists they are heading in the right direction.
“I think it’s getting better and I think Kurt has been a big contributing factor to that being a new coach,” she said. “I think bringing a new coach in was certainly a good thing and he’s brought in new players and we’re getting some young players feeding in from some of the younger teams. So I think this year if we could get a steady lineup for this team it would be good.
“It has been disappointing (to struggle). But there has been a few players that have stuck around with it for each other . . . and it’s going to come down to people willing to commit. If Kurt sticks around . . . and if he brings in a few people every year, a year or two down the line might be better.”
Despite Sunday’s setback, Von Hollen insists they are close to finally breaking through. He has big expectations for next week’s double header against the Calgary NSD Saints (3-1-1) on Saturday — who narrowly beat the Renegades 2-0 in their first meeting — and the Calgary Callies (4-2-0) on Sunday — who beat Red Deer 6-0 in the first game of the season. But they have improved greatly since then. Both games are at noon at Great Chief Park.
“We’ve got to work hard Tuesday and Thursday and come out for our double header and work on our passing and finishing,” said Von Hollen. “I think we’re going to (win).”