Rogers State looms in first round

The Lady Eagles are going to face off against their greatest rival one last time.

Things will probably get a bit contentious.

John Brown will go on the road in their first round of the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament.

They will face longtime rival Rogers State on Friday for the last time before RSU leaves for the NCAA Division II next season.

The Lady Eagles will look to avenge a 2-0 loss to the Lady Hillcats, Oct 19.

“We had our worst possession game of the year,” said head coach Scott Marksberry. “They make possession difficult because they have such high pressure.”

In that game, the Eagles surrendered two goals to freshman midfielder Raquel Chavez in the 31st minute and the 58th minute.

“We dominated,” said junior midfielder Whitney Brannan. “I don’t think that game was well indicated by the score.”

Rogers State plays a brand of soccer different than JBU, according to Marksberry.

“Rogers plays a really unique style; they play very direct,” said Marksberry. “They play with a sweeper, they like to kick the ball down the field and they are not a possession-oriented team.”

He said that aggressive style leads to contentious affairs, and Marksberry did not hide what he thinks of RSU’s game plan.

“I don’t like the way they play,” said Marksberry. “We have to play a different style, you have to win the ball in the air you have to play more physical and it’s tougher to just play soccer.”

In response to the different way the Lady Hillcats play, Marksberry said the team is restructuring their game plan.

Brannan said, “If we can stay focused and not get too wound up we can play our style and get control of the game.”

“Our back line has to win the ball in the air and if we win those we eliminate their attack,” he added.

That adjustment, along with the way the team is playing leads Marksberry to be confident in the Lady Eagles’ chances.

The loss to RSU was the Lady Eagles’ only conference road loss of the season.

JBU will be coming off a 3-0 loss to Oklahoma City on Saturday in the regular season finale.

Despite the loss, the team is confident in their level of play headed into the tournament.

“It’s a really strong time in our season we’ve been building up and building up and we’re ready to peak,” said Brannan. “I think that we’re doing well as a team, we’re getting along, the chemistry is great, the momentum is great the morale is high. We’re ready to play them again.”

Marksberry said, “We know we can play with them. I expect us to get a win and to be playing next Monday.”

JBU will face Rogers State on the road Friday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the SAC Tournament.