Calgary, AB - In the quarter-final matchup between the RDC Kings and Concordia University Thunder at the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Men's Soccer Championship in Calgary, stingy defence and effective goalkeeping took centre stage.
After a scoreless first half, time was winding down in the latter half when Concordia's Mazin Choufi finally solved RDC's goalkeeper Jacob Hamilton in the 79th minute to give the Thunder a 1 - 0 edge.
The Kings pressed, trying to even the contest but Thunder goalkeeper Adam Ziccarelli shut the door. Concordia University picked up the 1 - 0 win to advance to Saturday's semi-final against the south leading SAIT Trojans, who went undefeated (12 - 0 - 0) during the regular season.
Matthew Elphick, a Bachelor of Science student, was named the Kings Player-of-the-Game. Mazin Choufi received the nod for the Thunder.
At 4:00 p.m., The King's University Eagles (4 - 2 - 4) will face the Lethbridge College Kodiaks (7 - 3 - 2) in the other quarter-final game. During conference play, the Eagles finished third in the north while the Kodiaks captured second in the south. The winner between the two combatants will play the NAIT Ooks (9 - 0 - 1) in the semi-final on Saturday.
Kings Soccer Head Coach Wade Groenewegen credited the Thunder for a fast start but noticed the momentum shift in the latter half. "Concordia definitely came out strong and had more of the ball early. By the end of the first half, I felt that we had evened up," he says. "In the second half, we had more of the ball and were occasionally dangerous going forward. We weren't firing on all cylinders and the Thunder scored the only goal that mattered. Along with Matthew Elphick, Kyle Bett and Theoren Gill also had strong games overall."
While disappointed with the loss, the season showed a lot of growth from the Kings Soccer program. "We are not not happy with the result on the day and clearly still have room to grow," says Groenewegen. "Overall, the season was a success and we will look forward to being even stronger next year. This is a fine group of young men and as a coaching staff we enjoyed working with them every day."
As Groenewegen highlighted prior to the season, the RDC Kings added speed and offensive potential, and many of those talented student-athletes will be back in a Kings' uniform.
Two RDC Kings named to ACAC All-Conference team
On Thursday evening, two members of the RDC Kings were selected to the 2018 - 19 Men's Soccer South All-Conference team in Calgary. After a strong season, Gabriel Fleury de Queiroz and Theoren Gill received the awards at the ACAC Men's Soccer Banquet & Awards at SAIT's Heritage Hall & Atrium. The skilled student-athletes helped the RDC Kings Soccer team achieve a 7 - 3 - 2 regular season record, capturing third place in the south and a spot in the playoffs.
Fleury de Queiroz had an exceptional first-year on forward with the Kings. The Academic Upgrading student from Brazil scored five goals and added three assists, generating many offensive opportunities throughout the season.
Gill, a third-year midfielder, was an important leader for the Kings and an exceptional ambassador for RDC Athletics and Kings Soccer. The Bachelor of Education student from Red Deer had five goals and one assist in conference action.