The Lakeland Rustlers men's futsal team was in Lethbridge over the weekend for the ACAC Futsal Championships, held at Lethbridge College from March 15-17.
The Rustlers opened the weekend with just one match on Friday, as they took on the Keyano Huskies. The first half was all Huskies as they opened up a 3-0 lead after 25 minutes. The Rustlers found their scoring touch in the second half, scoring three goals of their own, but gave up four more to the Huskies, losing their opening game 7-3. Player of the game for the Rustlers was second-year Yamakah Murray.
Saturday saw the Rustlers having two matches, starting with The King's University Eagles. Both teams would score in the first half, and the game was tied 2-2 after 25 minutes. In the second half, the teams would continue to match each other goal for goal, each scoring twice again, as the game ended in a 4-4 tie. The game was described as "the game of the tournament" up to this point and kept the Rustlers in playoff contention. Player of the game for the Rustlers was third-year goalkeeper Zach Wagner.
The Rustlers second game of the day Saturday saw them facing the SAIT Trojans. With their playoff hopes on the line, the Rustlers needed to score a bunch of goals and win the game to qualify for Sunday's medal round. The Rustlers jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first half, and never looked back. In the second half, the Rustlers would score five more goals on the way to the 8-3 win. Player of the game for the Rustlers was first-year Orre Peters. The Rustlers finished the round robin portion of the tournament 2nd in their pool with a 1-1-1 record while scoring 15 goals, qualifying them for the playoffs.
Sunday's playoff round started with the Rustlers taking on the Olds College Broncos in the semi-final. The Rustlers had plenty of scoring chances in the first half, but 1st year Chase Cal would score the lone goal of the half, as Lakeland led 1-0 after 25 minutes. In the second half, the teams would go back and forth, matching each other goal for goal. In the end, it would be the Rustlers first-half goal that would be the difference maker, as they would beat the previously undefeated Broncos 5-4. Cal was named Player of the Game for the Rustlers.
With the semi-final win, the Rustlers advanced to the gold medal game, where they would face the Keyano Huskies. The Rustlers, who had faced the Huskies in their opening game of the weekend, were looking to pull off the upset and come away with the gold medal. The Huskies came out strong while the Rustlers fell behind early, trailing 4-0 at the half. In the second, the Rustlers held the Huskies to just one goal but were not able to score any goals of their own, losing the goal medal game 5-0. Player of the game for the Rustlers was 5th year Mackenzie Longpre.
The Rustlers came away from the ACAC Futsal Championships as the silver medalists, with several big wins to their name. While the Rustlers could not complete the ultimate upset, the team finished better than expected and showed how to work together as a team. Congratulations to the men's futsal team on your silver medal.