Sports

Soccer thrives in conference play

After tough first halves for both men’s and women’s soccer, the Golden Eagles are currently enjoying successful records. They are now playing games in the Sooner Athletic Conference, which comprises the entire second half of the teams’ seasons.

The teams’ schedules were not easy during the first half. The men’s team competed against sixth-place University of Mobile, and third-seeded Oklahoma Wesleyan University, not to mention the teams they played away from home for over half of their games.

The women’s team faced challenges in the form of competing against ninth-seeded William Carey University, tenth-seeded University of Mobile and sixth-seeded Benedictine College. Annika Bos, who plays center-back defender, thinks that such a tough first half has helped the team perform better in their conference games.

“I think that because we got to work through those losses against top-10 teams, we’ve been able to come together as a team and beat other teams in our conference more effectively,” Bos said.

For the men’s team, their success began with the final two non-conference games they played in the first half. The first of the two victories came in the form of beating number three ranked Oklahoma Wesleyan University away from home.

“When we played Oklahoma Wesleyan, we ended up beating them 1-0 at their place,” Will Simonds, who plays center-back defender, said. “That was a big confidence booster. We’ve just been riding that confidence into conference play.”

The men’s team is currently 3-1 in conference play; the women’s team is 2-1-1. Both teams have expressed one key component in their current success: defense.

“Our defense has been really solid, and we’ve all kind of grown closer as the season has gone on and been able to work together,” Bos said. “We’re just working together really well as a team.”

“Getting wins away from home is all about team defending, and it shows, because in our last five games, we’ve had a lot of goals,” Holt said. “From that, teams get frustrated and start to attack on us more and more, and that’s when we get more opportunities to score. When we score goals, it just makes everything that much easier.”

Another massive confidence booster for the men’s team came when they blanked Oklahoma City University, one of the best teams in the Sooner Athletic Conference, by a score of 2-0.

“[Winning against Oklahoma City] is a super tough result to get no matter where you are,” Adam Holt, who plays goal keeper, said. “So it was really good to get another win there.

As the season has gone on, we’ve kind of snowballed and gained more and more confidence.”

Even though the women’s team tied the game against Oklahoma City, Bos expressed that the team is still confident in their abilities to succeed throughout the remainder of the season.

“We were by far the better team; it was just an unlucky turn of events,” she said. “So I think we have a really good chance of winning conference this year and possibly moving on to higher levels of victory.”

The teams have five games left in the season. They expect to continue their success in conference play.

“I feel like our team has been very adaptable to the types of opponents we’ve been playing in conference,” Bos said.

“I think we can beat anybody,” Simonds said. “I think we have a lot more raw talent than we’ve had in the past. Everyone seems to be on board, and I think that there’s nothing that we don’t stack up against.”