Red Deer, AB – After a slow start Sunday afternoon, the Red Deer College Queens played better as the game developed against the Olds College Broncos. In their final regular season home game, the teams entered the half even but Teryn Wright and the Queens persevered to earn a 2 - 1 victory, and three points in the standings.
In the 20th minute the Queens connected for the first goal. A powerful kick up field by RDC's goalkeeper Erin Gill sprung Haley Nassichuk-Dean. The speedy forward from Crossfield beat the Broncos' defender and placed her shot in the lower left corner past Olds College's goalkeeper Auslin Rae McDaniel-Perrin.
Fourteen minutes later the Olds College Broncos drew even. Red Deer's Erin Gill made the initial save but Felicia Rodney, of the Broncos, pounced on the rebound for the equalizer.
In the second half, the Olds College Broncos had an opportunity to go ahead but as fate would have it, their strike bounced off the crossbar. Especially in the latter stages of the half, he RDC Queens controlled the play and applied a significant amount of pressure. In the 77th minute, the Queens were rewarded for their efforts. Teryn Wright, a Bachelor of Kinesiology student, was well-positioned in front and scored high beyond McDaniel-Perrin's reach. Abbi Galloway earned the assist. The 2 - 1 score remained as time expired.
Queens Head Coach Esad Elkaz recognized the sluggish beginning but appreciated the effort from one of his first-year defenders to provide RDC with energy. "I think the Queens put in 110% yesterday and today's game was okay. We were laid back and it was a very slow start," he says. "We tried different subs and players in different positions to see if we got that spark. We got that spark in Rebecca McBride which set a different tone to the game."
McBride, a Bachelor of Science student, was named the Queens Player-of-the-Game.
The Queens had a large amount of ball possession in the second half. "In the last 20 minutes, I think we dominated the game but before that it could have been anyone's game," says Elkaz. "It wasn't the best game we've played this year, but a win is a win."
Wright's timely strike held up as the winner, giving the Queens three points in the standings rather than one for a tie. "Teryn is a great soccer player and a great athlete," says Elkaz. "She always gives 110% in her performance."
Wright thought that communication at the half turned the tides. "In the first half, we definitely knew that we weren't playing well. We were frustrated but we went in at half, we all know each other so well, so we found out what the problems were," she says. "In the second half, it showed we took what we learned in the half-time talk and brought it to the field."
Hard work and team chemistry were factors in Wright's winning goal. "I knew that we needed to get another one so I was just trying to give it 110%. I think in the last 20 minutes we really came together as a team," she says. "We said we all need this and it was the connection with the girls that was better, and that's honestly how I scored that goal."
Entering the final two games of the regular season, paying attention to the present is the plan. "We are going to take it one game at a time, which is what we've been doing all season," says Wright. "It seems to work since we have a good record now. Just stay focused, on one goal at a time, and hopefully pick up two W's next weekend."
For five student-athletes, Sunday's contest was their final home game wearing the Queens uniform. Kayla Yeo (U of A), Teryn Wright (U of A), Erin Gill (U of L), Natasha Saleem (U of C), Haley Nassichuk-Dean (U of L) will transfer to other post-secondary schools next year to complete their studies.
"I am very proud of my girls especially those who are graduating this year," says Elkaz. "We will miss them for sure."
While the Queens have two games remaining in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women's Soccer South Division, they have already qualified for the postseason with 22 points. The top three teams from each division will play for an ACAC medal and the fourth place Olds College Broncos (13 points) cannot catch the Queens.
The second place RDC Queens (6 - 2 - 1) will complete the regular season next weekend on the road. On Saturday, October 20, the Queens will take on the third placed Kodiaks (5 - 4 - 1) in Lethbridge at 2:00 p.m. Then on Sunday, the Red Deer College Queens will challenge the sixth place Rattlers (2 - 7 - 1) in Medicine Hat at 12:00 p.m.