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Season opener at Oklahoma Baptist University ends in loss for Eagles

Despite grabbing an early lead, a lack of shots and an accidental deflection into the opposing team’s goal led to the Oklahoma Christian University men’s soccer team dropping their season opener with a 4-2 loss to the Oklahoma Baptist University Bison in Shawnee, Okla. on Thursday night.

The Eagles attacked the goal early, with junior forward Anthony Buchanan scoring 12 minutes into the game on an assist by two-time All-Heartland Conference selection, senior Ante Sunic.

Midway through the first half, however, the Bison tied the game after an own goal by the Eagles.

“I felt like we had a good first half and we looked good,” Buchanan said. “We were fighting for each other, but then we fell apart in the second half. We got tired and we lost our heart, but we saw how we can play with each other and can use that to play a full 90 minutes, and not just a half.”

The Eagles grabbed the lead again at the 41st minute, as junior Seth Brown scored a goal by an assist from Buchanan. With 30 minutes left, the Bison tied the game at 2-2 before going on to score two additional goals and claiming the victory.

Although the Bison outshot Oklahoma Christian 18-10, the Eagles managed four saves to Oklahoma Baptist’s three.

“It’s a long season and we can learn from our mistakes,” Buchanan said. “Last year, we started out the same way and then went on to win six games in a row. Tonight, we learned that we were not in the best shape, but we will work to get to where we need to be.”

After finishing last season 8-9-1 overall and 2-5-1 in conference play, the Eagles’ roster now consists of eight seniors and eight juniors, including their goalkeeper, Evan Helker. The senior led the conference with 108 saves and a .812 save percentage during the 2015 season.

“Our main goal this year to make postseason,” Buchanan said. “We have the talent and we will figure it out. Tonight was just the first game, but we can’t panic and waste this season. We have an opportunity to do great things and I know we will.”

Oklahoma Christian will face Southern Nazarene University at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, the first of five consecutive home games for the Eagles.

Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information office.

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