Brent Forster - RDC
Red Deer, AB - After a strong finish to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) season, which included a silver medal, the Red Deer College Kings are ready to compete on the national stage.
"We have been playing win and you're in soccer since the last weekend of the regular season. The boys have really found themselves again," says Head Coach Wade Groenewegen. "Nationals is of course going to be a great challenge, but just like the ACAC Championship, if you can win your first two games, you are in the final. We will put in our best effort and see how far that gets us."
The Kings (7-3-2) will open the national championship quarter-final against the Holland Hurricanes of the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) at 3:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 6. The Hurricanes picked up an 8-1-3 record during the regular season and won ACAA gold with a 1-0 win over the University of New Brunswick Saint John Seawolves.
"We expect Holland to be very well prepared. They are probably the team that makes it to nationals the most often. They are used to being there and will be very comfortable, I would expect," says Groenewegen.
"There is definitely going to be some newness and excitement for our boys. It will be our task to harness that energy and unleash it on the field."
The six other teams competing for the national title are the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Champion Humber Hawks (6-2-1), Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) gold medal winning Champlain College Saint-Lambert Cavaliers (4-2-2), ACAC Champion Lethbridge College Kodiaks (8-1-3), PacWest silver medalist VIU Mariners (7-3-2), PacWest Champion Douglas College Royals (6-4-2), and OCAA host Durham College Lords (8-2).
The Red Deer College Kings spent some time this past Saturday at The Dome Red Deer to fine tune some preparation before they depart for Ontario on Sunday.
"Preparation has been good and will continue right up to the event. We have taken stock of how we did at ACAC's and have refocused," says Groenewegen. "We were definitely beat up a little bit last weekend, but are moving towards being more fit as a group."
After dropping their ACAC quarter-final a season ago, Groenewegen and the Kings remained confident in their abilities and fittingly had visions of a trip to the national tournament this season.
"Last year we were eliminated from ACAC's on the first day, but we trained for two additional weeks because we wanted to be prepared to play this time of year," he says. "One year later we are on our way to nationals."
Information about the schedule and webcast can be found online.