Photo by: Will Gentry
Oklahoma Christian University’s men’s soccer team ended their 2013 regular season on Monday with a 3-0 loss to Lubbock Christian University. The Eagles’ final record was 4-11-1 overall and 2-7 in conference play.
Oklahoma Christian came into the game against Lubbock Christian after a rough 6-5 loss to University of Texas of the Permian Basin in overtime on Saturday.
According to senior Rigel Mathis, the team chemistry was very good. The players saw each other only as friends during preseason, but by the final games they saw each other as brothers.
“We were very strong when we possessed the ball like we could,” Mathis said. “During those times, we got rest and made the other team work. Our weakest moments were when we played only as individuals and not as a team. We were easily defeated and it caused the rest of the team to tire and crumble.”
Mathis was injured and missed more than half of the season, and according to him, injuries took a big toll on the Eagles’ chances for more victories.
“If I could prevent injuries, I would,” Mathis said. “Because of injuries many guys were lost. If we had the same squad from preseason, we may have done better.”
After the Eagles’ prior victory against Newman in overtime at home, junior Matt McLain and sophomore Brandon Little Axe were named to the Capital One Academic All-District Six team. District Six covers 35 NCAA Division II teams. Oklahoma Christian was the only team from the Heartland Conference to have more than one player on the 15-player Academic All-District team. Voting on the Academic All-American awards will take place in November.
“The strongest moments for the team were when we went to overtime against Dallas Baptist and Newman,” sophomore Ricardo Chinchilla said. “We decided to fight together and we won those games. The most memorable moment of the season was the celebration at the end of senior night [after the win against Newman].”
Chinchilla went on to say that the team chemistry was the Eagles’ strongest quality, but some players did get in their own heads after making a bad play or giving up a goal in a game.
“We were a real team, we moved as a whole family,” Chinchilla said. “I would go back and change the mentality of some players. Sometimes they would lose a goal, and their attitude would hurt the team a lot on some games.”
The Lady Eagles went 2-1 in their final three games on the 2013 season, beating both Newman and the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in shutouts.
“The win against Newman was great for our girls,” Head Women’s Coach Randall Robison said. “They have been so close in a number of games; their work ethic has been great. We were very happy for them to get the result they earned.”
According to Robison, the Lady Eagles were prepared for the games against Permian Basin and Lubbock Christian.
“They have done a good job staying on them one game at a time,” Robison said. “They are in a really good place right now, and they are having fun.”
Robison’s overall goal for the final games of the season was to get back to the cohesive aspect that they had acquired at the beginning of the season.
“We have let a few games slip away because of an individual mistake here or there,” Robison said. “When we play as a team and play for one another, we are a good side.”
Even through the big wins, Robison still saw things the girls needed to improve on before the season came to a close.
“We kept pressure on Newman throughout the entire game,” Robison said. “There were a few times that we could have been a little smarter with the pressure. We crossed the ball well from the wide positions. I would have liked to have seen us get on the end of those crosses more efficiently.”
The Lady Eagles held Heartland Conference powerhouse Lubbock Christian to a scoreless game in regular time on Saturday, but the Chaparrals scored in the 99th minute in overtime, ending the Lady Eagles’ season with a record of 4-12-2 overall and 2-6-1 in conference play.
“This season definitely had its ups and downs, but the big wins outweighed the tough losses,” sophomore Mackenzii Bieke said. “Shutting out Newman and Permian Basin was a great way to end the season. I wish we could have held off Lubbock Christian, but we just ran out of time.”
Bieke, one of the Lady Eagles’ key starters, went on to say that after the losses, it was her teammates that kept inspiring her to fight back in the next game.
“Those girls are my sisters and I never wanted to disappoint them,” Bieke said. “The thing with soccer – or with any sport really – is that there is always another game for you to come back and play better than you did in the game before. This team made it easy to come back because they supported me and we all wanted the same thing, to win.”
Lubbock Christian unofficially finished in third place in the Heartland Conference, based on record. Oklahoma Christian senior Chelsea Flagg closed her career with her two shutouts against Newman and Permian Basin as keeper. Senior Somer Helms finished her last season on the Oklahoma Christian squad with four goals, second only to junior Estefania Delgado. The Lady Eagles, before giving up the goal to Lubbock Christian, played 296 consecutive minutes of scoreless defense.