MEDICINE HAT, AB – Growing pains were expected for this year’s Medicine Hat College Rattlers women’s soccer team and through four games, that prediction has come true.
On Sunday, the Rattlers dropped a 2-0 decision at home to the Lethbridge College Kodiaks to finish their weekend home opening series with a loss and a tie.
Lethbridge struck just five minutes into the matinee contest, with Vicki Noronha connecting to put the Kodiaks ahead early.
After taking a 1-0 lead into the half, Lethbridge struck early again in the second half with a Christine Moser goal in the 47th minute.
Medicine Hat put six shots on goal in the second half but couldn’t solve Kodiaks goalie Brittany Klein, falling to a 0-3-1 record with a 2-0 loss.
Midfielder Madison Tole said the team has struggled matching up against larger rosters, but they’re working on combating their smaller numbers with speed and endurance.
“It’s frustrating because we don’t have a lot of players,” said Tole. “But, we’re working on cardio and getting more in shape because we don’t have the numbers.”
Rattlers goaltender Kassidy Suberlak was peppered with 10 shots on Sunday, stopping eight Lethbridge chances in the loss.
Newly minted head coach Stephen Newton said it’s been an adjustment getting his girls ready for ACAC play, but he’s seen steady growth despite a zero sitting in the team’s win column.
“It’s been a wake up call as to the speed and the level of the play,” said Newton. “They have all come from the city rep program [RASC], but this is a different game for them. They’re now moving with the pace, but I don’t think they understood how the fast the pace really was when we started.”
The Rattlers women’s squad is looking to replicate last year’s regular season success which saw Medicine Hat take a 7-2-1 record into playoffs, before losing in the quarter-finals.
They’ll have to gel quickly however, as this fall’s Rattlers club features seven freshmen and just a handful of third and fourth year players.
Tole, who is in her first year with Medicine Hat College, added she’s learning all she can from the veteran group and hopes to be that leader in the locker room in future seasons.
“We’ll stay together for the next couple of years and start playing together,” said Tole. “We’ll be able to take what the older girls have given us and taught us, and teach the new people who come and play with us next year.”
It was a wet and wild affair in the men’s game meanwhile, as Medicine Hat and Lethbridge settled for a 1-1 draw at Rattlers Field.
There was very little offence to speak of until the 36th minute, when Kodiaks midfielder Jimmy Bukuru potted his third goal of the 2018 season past Joao Vitor Duz Batista to open the scoring in a downpour of rain.
Medicine Hat ran into some penalty issues in the second half trailing 1-0, as forward Colton Pacheco was issued a red card and ejected from Sunday’s contest.
Being down a man didn’t seem to face the Rattlers however, knotting up the score at 1-1 in the 58th minute off the foot of Mike Gurski for his first goal of the year.
Kodiaks midfielder Matteo Pasquotti was issued two yellow cards in the second half and ejected to even up numbers on the field, while both teams ran out the clock to earn the tie.
Duz Batista was extremely steady for the Rattlers in net, only allowing one goal on 11 Lethbridge shots on Sunday.
Seeing their record on the season go to 2-1-1, Medicine Hat sits alone in second place in the ACAC South Division through four games.
A north road swing lies ahead for the Rattlers men’s and women’s soccer teams, visiting Red Deer College on Saturday before travelling to Lloydminster on Sunday to battle the Lakeland College Rustlers.
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