Pouna leads Wildcats to 4-0 win

Story by Chad Mullen, Writer

The Baker men’s soccer team started its conference season in dominant fashion with a 4-0 win over Clarke University Sunday. The 5-2 Wildcats took a season-high 48 shots in the game, a number sophomore Steeve Pouna focused on as a point of success.

“I think it is a product of practice, and in the games, when we get close coach tells us, ‘shoot, shoot, shoot,’ and we had a lot of opportunities so we took them, 48 times, 29 on goal,” he said.

Pouna had two goals of his own in the game, the first coming in the second minute of the game, the next coming in the 15th to take an early 2-0 lead.

“I got pretty lucky on my goals, and my teammates set me up great for them,” he said.

Even with another shutout victory, the Wildcats’ fifth of the season, head coach Nate Houser is still hard on the team following wins.

“Every game there is something coach says we need to improve on,” Pouna said. “Every game we need to get better.”

Pouna, the team’s leading goal scorer, didn’t hesitate to point out the many facets he needs to work on to improve and help the Wildcats as one of their leaders.

“I need to improve my mobility, moving without the ball, running diagonally to make space and create for my teammates,” he said. “As number 10 on the field, I am sort of like the quarterback, so creating for my teammates is a big deal.”

The win over Clarke was the team’s third consecutive victory after starting the season 2-2. The two losses came to No. 5 Hastings and No. 7 Northwestern Ohio. Pouna believes the two losses lit a fire under the Wildcats that they have used to propel themselves to their current 5-2 record.

“The loss to Hastings was tough, because we normally beat them, but it put us back on the right track,” he said.

Even after facing a rigid non-conference schedule, Baker has plenty of challenges ahead in the Heart of America Athletic Conference as one of its four nationally ranked teams. Still, Pouna believes that the Wildcats will be the toughest challenge for anyone coming out of the Heart.

“Right now, we are the team to beat,” he said. “There are no soft opponents, but we are the toughest team in the conference.”

That confidence will bode well for Pouna and the Wildcats if they make it to the NAIA National Championship Tournament, which they have their sights set on after making it to the second round in 2015.

“We are focused on our goal like last year, which is to make it to Florida,” Pouna said. “And that is for nationals, but also, who doesn’t want to go to Florida in the winter?”