By Ryan McCracken on September 11, 2017.
The Medicine Hat College Rattlers opened the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference season with a rousing 5-0 win over the Lakeland Rustlers on Saturday at the Snake Pit, but an untimely mishap forced them to settle for a 1-1 draw when the Red Deer Queens came to town Sunday.
While Medicine Hat’s Daragh O’Fuarthain wasted no time putting Medicine Hat in front Sunday —notching her second goal in as many days within the opening minute of the match—Red Deer’s Chelsea Webster found a narrow opening on a free kick in the second half. While the kick itself didn’t seem destined for the back of the net, a pinball play resulted in the ball sneaking past the reach of Rattlers goalkeeper Kassidy Suberlak.
“The ball was delivered in, there was a little bit of a cluster and our keeper lost sight of the ball,” said Rattlers head coach Travis Hyde. “It was unfortunate but that’s part of the game.”
While the Rattlers were unable to respond in kind, Suberlak quickly redeemed herself by snuffing out a late 2-on-0 chance to keep the tie intact.
“It was great to see her respond positively rather than hang her head,” said fifth-year Rattlers midfielder Jordyn Bell. “Mistakes happen, I missed a breakaway.”
“For her to bounce back and save that breakaway really kept us in the game,” added Hyde. “She earned us that point.”
The Rattlers saw goals from five different players in Saturday’s shutout victory over Lakeland. Bell opened the scoring then added a pair of assists on Francesca Schottner and Jadyn Fode’s ensuing markers before Rachel Dorais and O’Fuarthain put the game away.
“Any time we can get five different people scoring goals that shows we have a lot of versatility and depth to our team,” said Hyde of Saturday’s win.
After filling defensive role over the past few years, Bell has been moved to an attacking midfielder position as one of the team’s veterans this season. While she says it’s still taking some time to get used to, she has a history up front as well.
“It’s weird because I was a striker growing up. So I was always trying to score,” said Bell. “Then when I came here I was always holding centre-mid, so it was burned into me to pass. Now I’m trying to go back to that run-and-score. It’s a bit of a hard transition.”
Bell is entering her final year with the Rattlers — alongside fellow fifth year Meaghan Clarke — and knows that will come with some added responsibility on the pitch. With a handful of new players making their Rattler debuts over the weekend, Bell says she plans on becoming a lot more vocal on the field to aid in their development while creating a better network of in-game communication.
“I’m going to try to be more vocal and supportive instead of showing up and playing,” she said, adding Saturday’s win was vital in developing the team’s new talent. “Being able to get a lot of the first years in and get their first-game jitters out of the way, I thought that was huge.”
Hyde added he will look to Bell and Clarke, as well as veteran midfielder
Francesca Schottner to shoulder the leadership duties this year —and he’s been pleased with how they’ve been handling the added responsibility.
“They’ve jelled well and showed good leadership for the team so far,” he said.
Men’s squad shakes off stalemate
The Rattlers men’s soccer team closed the book on their weekend with the same result, though they opened with a scoreless draw against the Lakeland Rustlers Saturday before forging their way into the win column with a 3-0 victory over the Red Deer Kings on Sunday.
Rattlers goalkeeper Devin Simon turned aside five shots on target to preserve the clean sheet and pick up Medicine Hat’s first point of the season, but the team was unable to finish despite putting 10 shots on Lakeland keeper Josh Hatzenbuuhler
“Defensively we were strong. We didn’t give up many chances and we worked hard the entire game, we just couldn’t break them down offensively,” Hyde said of Saturday’s stalemate. “Any time we did get a chance we didn’t bury.”
That all changed in Sunday’s opening half. Austin Price got the ball rolling in the 20th minute with his team’s first goal of the season, then Connor Ismond doubled up on the lead six minutes later. Rodrigo Tavares put the game out of reach with a goal in the 86th minute.
The Rattlers return to the Snake Pit Saturday to host the Lethbridge Kodiaks, with the women taking the pitch at noon followed by the men at 2 p.m.
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