Men’s soccer had it easy in a big win over a non-NAIA opponent last Saturday.
After this Saturday, wins will not come so easy anymore. That is when the Eagles open conference play against Oklahoma Baptist. JBU closed their non-conference schedule with a (9-0) win over Dallas Christian.
In that win, freshman midfielder Cory Cole and senior midfielder Cameron Cole entered the game in the second half and combined for 3 goals and 2 assists.
After a couple of close losses and a tie to Union (Tenn.), the Eagles still finished their non-conference schedule 4-2-1.
That is an improvement over last season’s 3-5-0 mark.
Men’s head coach John Miglarese is far more concerned with conference play than what the team has done thus far.
“Non-conference play only matters if we do well in conference play,” said Miglarese. “Conference play is our ticket to the national tournament.”
In conference play Miglarese wants to see the Eagles continue to embrace the coaching staff’s vision, despite the injuries they are sustained.
“We want to be known for a very aggressive but fair style of play,” said Miglarese. “If we are organized and determined and do the things that we do well, we’ll be okay.”
Playing an aggressive brand of soccer will be a key part of defeating an OBU team Miglarese calls “one of the more talented teams we’ll play all season.”
The Bison offense is anchored by senior forwards Tito Silva and Victor Costa and freshman forward Rodrigo Lopes.
Silva and Lopes lead OBU with four goals and three goals, respectively.
Costa, who was third team All-NAIA in 2010, led the team with 16 goals last season.
The Eagles can handle the Bison, and any other conference team, if they play the game plan the coaching staff has envisioned, said Miglarese.
“We want to dominate possession, be on the ball constantly, to be very physical and be sharp defensively,” said Miglarese. “If you are going to score on us it has to be spectacular.”
JBU plays Oklahoma Baptist at 3 p.m. Saturday at Alumni Field.