21 Oct RCTC women looking for healthy postseason run
After starting the season 2-2, RCTC has reeled off six straight wins and will take an 8-2 record into the Region XIII championship game on Saturday.
The top-seeded Yellowjackets will host No. 2 Anoka-Ramsey at 4 p.m. at Rochester Regional Stadium.
RCTC swept two games from Anoka-Ramsey during the regular season. A-R has been short on players lately and had just nine (instead of 10) position players and a goalie in a 2-1 overtime win over No. 3 Lake Superior College in the three-team region semifinals.
RCTC has an 8-2 record this season, but had six games cancelled due to COVID concerns.
“It’s way too many,” Coach Bryan Weiss said.
“But the silver lining to having a bunch of games cancelled, we’re just really healthy,” Weiss added.
The Region XIII champion will advance to the Great Lakes District tournament next weekend at the site of the Region Four winner. RCTC would need to win two games at the district tournament to earn an NJCAA National Tournament bid.
“This was our goal the whole season, to develop in the regular season and make a run in the nationals,” Weiss said.
Looming in the district round is likely to be unbeaten Delta College, the 2019 national champions.
“They’re a powerhouse, we’ve been watching video,” Weiss said. “We would probably have to play a perfect game against Delta.”
But the Yellowjackets have to take care of business in the region tournament before they can set their sites on a district title.
“That’s one of our two main goals, is getting the girls transferred-on who want to play at a four-year school and then winning in the tournament round,” Weiss said.
The Yellowjackets have averaged 3.0 goals per game this season and are allowing a mere 0.89 per contest. Goalkeeper Fatima Sanchez Hernandez has four shutouts and she has played the majority of two other games in which RCTC did not allow a goal.
“She’s been amazing,” Weiss said. “Fatima in the competitive games, she’s definitely the difference. We haven’t allowed as many shots on goal this year, but she’s definitely made some quality saves that have kept us in games.”
Five players have tallied all 30 goals for RCTC. St. Charles’ Mia Pierre leads the Yellowjackets with 12 goals and has two assists. Haley Doyea has seven goals and six assists, Austin’s Eliana Bentley has four goals and four assists, Addison Knick has four goals and two assists and Allie Thompson has three goals and two assists.
Weiss likes the team chemistry, makeup and defense of the Yellowjackets.
“Across the board, we’re just more well rounded,” he said. “This is the best 11 that we’ve had since I’ve been here. Defensively, the four defenders don’t really come off the field ever.”
It’s the team’s overall play that has the Yellowjackets confident heading into the postseason.
“It’s just getting all 10 field players to commit to playing offense and defense,” Weiss said. “And protect that goal and Fatima as much as we can. Just play smart and we should be able to move on.”
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