Photo by: Henoc Kivuye
Both men’s and women’s soccer saw early leads vanish in their most recent matches this past weekend.
The men, who squared off against Eastern New Mexico State University, jumped to their early lead on a penalty kick that resulted in junior Domenico DeGrazia’s seventh goal of the season.
The Greyhounds rallied sending two goals into the back of the net in as many minutes. The Eagles failed to record another shot on goal in the first half.
In the ensuing half the Eagles generated no additional offense and were overtaken by a second pair of goals from the Greyhounds, who stole the victory 4-1 from the Eagles at home.
To add to their misfortune, the Eagles lost sophomore Ricardo Chinchilla after a collision left the midfielder in need of assistance leaving the field.
Junior Matt McLain keyed-in on how this injury, along with a handful of others, is going to effect this team moving forward.
“[The ENMU] game definitely could have been better and we didn’t get the result we wanted,” McLain said. “We have a lot of guys out injured right now so we just have to come together as a team and work through it.”
The following day the Lady Eagles welcomed Angelo State University on an afternoon defined by the weather.
A heavy rain pre-game and a light continued drizzle upon kick off dropped temperatures and created the first fall-like atmosphere for the Lady Eagles this season.
The Lady Eagles offered little evidence that the weather altered their play at all as senior Somer Helms took a pass from fellow senior Addie Ryan and put it in within nine minutes of the game’s start.
The quick start for the Lady Eagles marked a style of play that Ryan, in hindsight, thought should have been sustained for continued success.
“Looking back I think if we could have maintained our style of play that we had the first 25 [minutes] of the game we wouldn’t have allowed them to come back,” Ryan said. “We didn’t mark up, which cost us their first goal, and then we should have dealt with their speed up top a little better by not keeping such a high line which caused us to get into a foot race.”
A header off of a free kick in the 34th minute served as the tying goal for the Rambelles, and a pair of goals in the 62nd and 69th minutes, respectively, brought the final score to 3-1.
Both teams now look to the not-so-distant future as conference play is set to begin in Austin, Texas tomorrow.
The Lady Eagles, coming off of last year’s 3-13 season, look to turn things around and set the pace in this season’s conference play, as explained by Ryan.
“I think a big goal for us is to come out as a team and dictate play and then keep that throughout an entire game,” Ryan said. “We have seen that we can compete with other teams when we do this, so it’ll be important for us to finish whatever changes that we get and to do the little things right to keep ourselves out of trouble in the back.”
McLain echoed the thoughts of Ryan on the Eagles’ behalf, noting that a strong performance from the outset could prove key in setting a tone in conference this year.
“[We are looking to] start off strong, definitely,” McLain said. “We have good tests right off the bat opening conference play, so hopefully we can start off hot with a win against those guys and more wins should follow.”
As for the tests to which McLain made reference, both teams will dive headfirst into Heartland Conference play against St. Edward’s University tomorrow.
The Hilltoppers have proven to be exceedingly strong opponents, as neither of Oklahoma Christian’s teams registered a single goal in either of their respective matches with the conference foe last season.
Ryan, whose Lady Eagles fell to St. Edward’s last season a combined 15-0 over two games, acknowledges a big key for the Lady Eagles in the match in Austin.
“It will be very important to stay organized defensively in every position for the entire game,” Ryan said.
Likewise, the men, who fell to the Hilltoppers 3-0 and 2-0, saw vast improvement between the two and look to take even greater strides as they seek a victory tomorrow.
“The first time we played St. Ed’s last year they kind of caught us off guard a little bit; they kind of had control of the game,” McLain said. “The second time we played them it was a lot more of an even match, so hopefully we can play like we did the second time we played them last year and give it a good game and come away with a win.”
As the Lady Eagles embark on their tour of Texas, they will meet fierce competition.
Among the foes slated in the next few days are the two schools that tied for the top spot in the Heartland just a season ago, St. Edward’s and Dallas Baptist University.
Sophomore Hannah Lorentz alluded to the Lady Eagles’ mindset as they look to clear past matches and start fresh this weekend.
“In order to get through these next 10 games we have to put our past behind us and look forward,” Lorentz said. “We need to acknowledge those games only to help us see what it is that we can improve on. What we cannot do is let those games define us.”
St. Edward’s, who has begun the young season 5-0-2, has maintained their position atop the conference thus far.
Lorentz noted that while the records reflect a mismatch, the Lady Eagles’ early losses are being viewed as stepping-stones, not roadblocks.
“We lost a few, but that doesn’t make us hopeless,” Lorentz said. “We need to learn from it, improve on it and become better game by game.”