By Nik Kowalski
RRC Forfeits at Halftime, Conclude Season
The Rebels men’s soccer team’s match got cut short Saturday afternoon after the team went into halftime with only six players and a keeper.
Rebels keeper Yuri Martes exited the game in the 36th minute after taking more than one ball directly to the face. Rebels head coach Chuck Mrena said Martes entered concussion protocol.
RRC striker, Amanuel Abraham played the remainder of the half as the team’s emergency keeper, letting in two goals in a 3-0 loss to the Providence University College Pilots (PUC).
“It was quite scary,” said Abraham. “When you’re playing keeper on a field with turf the ball moves fast, but I, and my team did our best.”
Giovanni Benitez opened the scoring for the Pilots in the 21st minute, hammering the ball off Martes’s hands and in.
Martes’s efforts kept RRC in a game they had no business being in with constant pressure from PUC.
“I told our eight guys that the other team was starting to get frustrated and a little chippy, meaning that playing shorthanded they did well,” said Mrena.
Pilots’ forward Austin Blackwell increased his team’s lead to two when he got behind the Rebels’ defence and fired a shot along the turf, off the post, and into the back of the net.
Beytullah Aslan would make good on another Pilots surge, finding the back of the net before the half to make it 3-0.
The Rebels would forfeit at halftime.
“We asked them if they wanted to continue and they told us they were hurting too much,” said Mrena. “They’ve played three games in six days, the same guys.”
Mrena thought his team this year was more skilled as individual players but never got a chance to come together after failing to field a full roster.
Due to injuries, the Rebels are also forfeiting their season finale against the Brandon University Bobcats. RRC will end their season 2-0-8, falling short of the playoffs.
Myer’s late tally the difference in 1-0 Rebels loss
In a playoff preview, the PUC Pilots defeated the RRC Rebels 1-0 thanks to a late Makayla Myer goal.
RRC shut down Myer, PUC’s league-leading scorer, for the majority of the match, but she found a way to get on the scoreboard in the 74thminute.
Her opportunity came on a partial breakaway after chasing down a loose ball. Myer then fired a shot past the left side of Rebels keeper Abigail Wilson to record the only tally of the match.
Rebels’ head coach Douglas Lawrie said he was pleased with the way his fullbacks handled Myer but saw a miscue in his midfield prior to her goal.
RRC amped up their attack in the final 15 minutes, but an abundance of saves by PUC keeper,
Morgan Andries shut down any hope of the Rebels tying up the match.
Close chances in the final minutes by Sarah Stoffel and Miranda Isaacs were the best looks RRC got, but Andries turned away both shots.
“I saw some tremendous playmaking out there,” said Lawrie. “We created good offensive opportunities, so I was pretty happy overall with the team play.”
The outcome makes what was likely now official: the Rebels (6-1-2) will finish second and the Pilots (5-0-4) third. With the playoffs beginning next Saturday, these teams will meet again for a single-elimination playoff game.
At this point, there’s no favourite or underdog between RRC and PUC; both are essentially even.
In their two matches this season, each team took a 1-0 win.
The difference next Saturday will likely be how effective Myer is for PUC.
Lawrie again said he’s confident his team will be able to handle the star forward, pointing to the majority of RRC’s 180 minutes against PUC this season as evidence.
The Rebels and Pilots playoff date will be on Saturday, Oct. 26 at theOtterburne Complexat Providence University College. The match time isn’t set.
For an update on the time, you can visit the MCAC website.