The Red Deer College Kings’ soccer team were looking for a little more than a split decision heading into a pair of matchups last Saturday and Sunday.
After getting the 2016-17 season off to a slow start by dropping a 4-0 decision to Lakeland College at home a week ago, a relatively young Kings’ side were able to put in a pair of solid efforts against Lethbridge at the RDC field.
“It’s a good start. You’ve got to get the first one. You can’t have any more until you get the first one, so we needed to get one, especially at home early in the season,” said Kings’ Head Coach Wade Groenewegen after his squad battled to a 2-0 victory on Saturday afternoon. “We pressed boots a lot quicker than we did last weekend, we were more familiar with where each other were so our defensive shape was a lot better and more consistent today than last week for sure.”
A pair of early goals turned out to be the difference maker in Saturday’s tilt, as the Kings struck quickly in the first half.
Midfielder Mark Ibbotson laid claim to the Kings’ first goal of the fresh season in the sixth minute to give his team a 1-0 lead before Skylar Roth widened the gap to 2-0 just six minutes later to give his team a 2-0 lead heading into the half.
“Our stuff with the ball was mostly more patient. We’ve still got to stick to some of that stuff we’re doing during the week a bit more, but there’s definitely growth in the right direction,” Groenewegen said. “It was fairly even, it’s not like Lethbridge was a bad team or didn’t show up today. We had some quality chances, probably could have put a couple more away, but we did bury ours and they didn’t bury any of theirs.”
From the 12th minute onwards the spotlight belonged to the Kings’ defense and goaltender Raymond Fox, who kept out all nine shots he faced for the win.
“Ray was big when we needed him to be big. We bent but we didn’t break today. We didn’t give up any high quality opportunities today,” Groenewegen said.
Despite a couple of injuries in the midfield which forced some changes, the Kings’ defense were able to quell a surging Kodiaks side in the dying minutes to secure the victory.
The momentum from the win didn’t carry over to Sunday’s match in quite the way the Kings had planned though as the team hosted the Medicine Hat College Rattlers.
Despite keeping pace with the Rattlers’ forwards in the shots department, the Kings weren’t able to find the back of the net as they fell 2-0. The up and down weekend brings the Kings’ record to 1-2 on the season, which puts them in fourth place in the ACAC South division.
Meanwhile, the RDC Queens soccer team have been making their presence known in the ACAC of late, collecting two wins and a tie in their last three matches to put themselves in second place in the ACAC South.
Goalkeeper Jessie Stewart has been solid between the pipes for the Queens, stopping all but one of the 15 shots she has faced in last weekend’s regular season games, while Kaitlin D’Arcy, Taylor Heist and Riley Morey have led the way offensively.
Both the RDC Kings and Queens soccer teams will be back in action next Saturday when they head to SAIT in Calgary to face off against the Trojans.