Red Deer, AB – It was a back-and-forth gritty game between the RDC Kings and visiting Olds College Broncos on Sunday afternoon at the RDC Main Field. After the teams were tied, RDC's Antonio Suhalj scored with about nine minutes remaining to give the Kings an important 3 - 2 decision, and a berth in the playoffs.
With a tentative RDC start, Olds College capitalized in the 18th minute. Fabian Gromenida scored low to the right side to give his Broncos an early advantage. Before the opening half was complete, Colin Purnell blasted a penalty kick into the back of the net. The tying goal came in the 27th minute and the 1 - 1 score would extend into the second half.
The Kings went ahead 2 - 1 in the 59th minute. Colin Purnell, a first-year Justice Studies student, scored from the side for his second of the afternoon. Nineteen minutes later, the Broncos knotted the game up 2 - 2. A well-struck Broncos' curl was headed in from the right side in the 78th minute. The RDC Kings responded only three minutes later. Over the outstretched arms of the Broncos' goalkeeper, Antonio Suhalj scored the go-ahead marker in the 81st minute. Pedro Humberto Mourao Neto set up Suhalj's goal. The goal from the Bachelor of Commerce student held up as the winner.
Kings Soccer Head Coach Wade Groenewegen was happy with the result but not the collective play. "That was an ugly win. But the good thing about an ugly win is that they count the same as a pretty win. We played so well yesterday but we didn't have that same activation today," he says. "Our decision making wasn't good. Our communication wasn't good. We weren't early enough, but having said that, we still managed to pull out the win. Today is one of those days when the result is good, but the performance wasn't great."
Timmo van Klaveren was recognized for his work ethic and diverse skill, being named the Kings Player-of-the-Game. "Timmo played two positions today. He was up on right wing and then left fullback so he did the diagonal across the field," says Groenewegen. "He was activated all game and was early. He was one of the guys who was playing the closest to his best game."
With the win, the RDC Kings sealed a spot in the postseason which will provide Groenewegen several options next weekend. "We have a few key injuries and a couple guys who are battling the flu. We just want to get healthy," he says. "The perfect thing about today's result is it guarantees us a playoff spot, which is important. It will allow us to have a more generous approach to our bench for next weekend."
Four Kings will be graduating from the RDC Soccer program after the playoffs. Matthew Elphick, Timmo van Klaveren, William Arcinegas Salazar and Keeghan Tingley played their final regular season game at RDC. "That's what we're here for, to educate players. To me, that's a big thing," says Groenewegen. "Keeghan finished his diploma. The other three are transferring on to the U of C and the U of A and that's part of our success."
The second place RDC Kings (6 - 2 - 2) will compete against the third seeded Kodiaks (6 - 3 - 1) in Lethbridge on Saturday, October 20 at 4:00 p.m. Then to wrap up the regular season, the Red Deer College Kings will face the fourth place Medicine Hat College Rattlers (4 - 5 - 1) on Sunday, October 21 at 4:00 p.m.