RRC winger Kezia Balzer scores twice in second half

By Nik Kowalski

Jessica Gzebb (11) scored the game-tying goal against CMU Saturday. NIK KOWALSKI.

Facing elimination, the RRC Rebels women’s futsal team dug deep for a trio of goals in the second half of their 3-2 semi-final victory over the Canadian University Mennonite Blazers.

“The message was patience,” said RRC head coach Doug Lawrie post-game at the Brandon University Healthy Living Centre. “They got some goals that came from some bounces that happened to go their way, but for the most part I thought we were playing very well in the first half.”

Nineteen seconds into the second half, the Rebels got their own fortunate bounce when Kezia Balzer fired a shot that deflected off a CMU defender and into their own net.

“That was really big for switching the momentum,” said Balzer post-game.  “Getting that in right away just gave us that ‘I can do it, like okay we got one up there, it’s only one more to tie.’”

Lawrie echoed Balzer’s though process, knowing that once the Rebels got one, the team’s confidence would strengthen, and playoff jitters would vanish. 

CMU jumped out to a first-half lead after a precise one-timer off an Ezri Trump corner kick and later a solo effort by CMU leading scorer defender Miriam Kabonesa.

Jessica Gzebb had a quiet first half, but came through when RRC needed her. NIK KOWALSKI.

MCAC leading-scorer Jessica Gzebb arrived on the scoresheet minutes after Balzer’s icebreaker, tapping in a pretty passing play from teammates Shea Bresciani and Ashley Paterson.

Then with just under five minutes remaining, Balzer came through again, drilling home a shot from the top of the key on a broken play.

“It’s good recognition for what she’s done for the team all year,” said Lawrie about Balzer. “She’s just been one of our solid, reliable players all year.”

The Rebels locked down the Blazers from there, only relying on keeper Abigail Wilson as time expired for one final save in-close. Wilson was lights out after CMU’s first two goals.

With the win RRC stays in Brandon for another day, facing off against the first place Université de Saint-Boniface Les Rouges for the MCAC women’s futsal championship. Kick-off is at 3 p.m. at the Brandon Healthy Living Centre.