First time’s the charm for Lakeland Rustlers futsal squads
It didn’t take long for the Lakeland Rustlers to make a name for themselves in the school’s newest sport. The Rustlers can boast a win and a finals appearance in the first tournament in the school’s history. Both the men’s and women’s teams had some great performances as Lakeland College hosted the season’s first tournament at the Common Wealth Centre this past weekend.
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The men’s team took the tournament with an unbeaten record, and waltzed over the Briercrest Clippers, 11-3, in the final. The women also had a lot to be proud of in their first tournament, as they made it to the final but came up short against the Medicine Hat Rattlers, 3-2, in the final.
“I was really proud of the kids. They accepted it when they came here that this is part of getting into the soccer season that we’re going to do futsal through the winter,” said Rustlers head coach Mick Gale. “Since November when we started, they had seven or eight weeks and that’s all to get into training and play, so that’s pretty good.”
In the men’s division, the Rustlers posted wins over Medicine Hat, King’s University, Briercrest and Keyano College. While the team performed well through the round robin, no one expected the Rustlers to explode for 11 goals – including eight in the first half – of the finals.
“Two or three goals and we would’ve been happy,” said Gale. “Everything in training came up, and (Briercrest’s) coach said he’s never seen anything like that before.”
After doing nothing but training through the first semester, the Rustlers were chomping at the bit to put their skills to use.
“It all paid off. Everything was working well,” said Rustler Gaetan Infantino, who unfortunately suffered a foot injury during the round robin. “We just clicked after all that training, and we knew each other good and it just worked out well.”
While the women didn’t fair so well in their final, they did play well against well establish futsal programs like Keyano and Briercrest.
“We weren’t used to playing in there, we weren’t used to playing together, so the girls just came together, stepped up and played as a team, and we’re really proud of what we did,” said Rustler Lindsay Pellerin. “It definitely motivates us. It’s something to look forward to now that we know we can play well together and we know what we’re capable of.”
There are two more tournaments in the schedule, with Medicine Hat hosting one Feb. 12-13, and Keyano hosting their tournament March 19-21.