The defending champions of the Sooner Athletic Conference were up for a good start of their season. Of the eight games played so far, six ended up in victories with two losses on away games.
The women’s soccer team opened their season with a 2-1 win against MidAmerica Nazarene at the Alumni Field in Siloam Springs, AR. The team debuted ten freshman players that incorporated the team in its efforts to defend its conference title. Aspen Carpenter, junior forward, said she is grateful for the ten freshman players who joined the team this year.
“They all bring great chemistry, and they are really great girls and really good soccer players. They help our team a lot,” Carpenter said.
Sarah Hughes, sophomore defender, agreed.
“It’s been really cool incorporating them into the team. I think our team chemistry has been really good up this point and we have become more unified,” Hughes said.
Early in September the Golden Eagles took off to the state of Tennessee, playing two away games that resulted in a 2-1 loss against Bethel University and a 4-2 win against Cumberland University.
“We’ve had good results. We’ve also had a few losses that allow us to see were we need to improve. It has been excited to see us coming together to practice and fix the problems for the future games.” Hughes said.
The John Brown University Classic brought the satisfaction of two wins at home, defeating Our Lady of the Lake 4-1 and taking a 3-0 win against Olivet Nazarene. The last two away games gave the Golden Eagles a 3-0 win against Ouachita Baptist and a 3-1 loss against Oklahoma Wesleyan.
“We don’t like losing, but we are able to take a reality check and look at our time and know where are we really at and where do we want to be, and it is a good thing that can help to push us to do better.” Carpenter said.
Hughes believes that “playing together and getting games underneath our belts, plus practicing together every day” has contributed to the unity and good chemistry of this team.
“We care for each other as a team as people more than as soccer players,” Hughes added.
The women’s soccer team returned home last Thursday defeating the Texas A&M – Texarkana with a 5-0 score favoring the JBU. Both Hughes and Carpenter agreed that part of the success of this team is due to the support and technical decision of head coach Kathleen Paulsen.
“Coach Kathleen is good at seeing where we need to improve and helping us recognize those areas for ourselves.” Hughes said.
Carpenter believes that the system of a line-up rotation implemented by Paulsen is helping in the success of the team.
“It is a new dynamic that we haven’t had in the past, because we haven’t had enough players to do that. But at this point in the season we have no injuries and that is due to the rotation that we have.” Carpenter said.
Carpenter also believes that the rotation has contributed to the unity of the team since “all players are playing a role in the game and in the bench” and the rotations allow them to enjoy the wins as “team wins.”
Regarding the title of conference champion, Carpenter said that the team is aware that they are targets for competition.
“I think if we stay confident as a team and remain humble, we’ll be good if we keep working hard,” Carpenter said.
The Golden Eagles’ first conference game is on Sept. 28. They will be visiting Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas.
The next home game is on Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. against Texas Wesleyan.
“I hope we can go undefeated in conference and make it to the national conference” Carpenter concluded.
JOSE RICARDO SALINAS – Sports Editor