Blue Devils are set host first ever Midwest District Final on Saturday

Published 10:17 pm Thursday, October 26, 2023

The Riverland Community College men’s soccer team has already made program history and now it’s looking to raise the bar even higher when it hosts Harper in a Midwest District Final at Wescott Athletic Complex at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The Blue Devils (8-7-3 overall) have played in four straight Region XIII finals, but this is the first time in school history that the team has won a Region championship.

RCC head coach Frank Spaeth, who arrived with the Blue Devils in 2019 said he’s already had players from his first team reach out to him and celebrate the success of the Blue Devils.

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I had gotten the job two months before the season started and we were starting from scratch. Between some international guys and area guys, I was able to have a pretty solid team that first year and I think that raised the expectations,” Spaeth said. “We’ve been able to bring players in from an hour from here and we’ve also had guys from all over the world. That’s the fun part. Every year is like a puzzle with mostly new pieces and you’ve got to figure out which players will be the best in which spots.”

RCC’s roster features a strong core of Austin natives and it also includes players from Brazil, South Africa and Colombia.

RCC freshman defender Alex Ulrich, an Owatonna grad, is one of a few players from the Big Nine playing for the Blue Devils and the former opponents have blended together for Spaeth’s Blue Devils.

“It’s been fun going from rivals to teammates with some of these guys,” Ulrich said.

Camden Williams, a freshman keeper from Rochester John Marshall, said that the team has been able to grow together this season, despite coming from many different places.

“We’ve bonded with a team connection on and off the field. We want to keep making history and we want to be that first Riverland team to make it to nationals,” he said.

A win this Saturday in the District Final would qualify Riverland for their first-ever men’s soccer NJCAA Division III tournament.

We don’t know a lot about our opponent, but they’ve played some higher level teams,” Spaeth said. “I’ve been telling the guys that record doesn’t matter. The teams that are winning these games are here because they’re doing something right. Every game, I’ve told the guys that we need to play our best game and now that’s especially true.”