The Baker Orange

Men’s soccer team heads to HAAC play

Story by Shawn Deegan

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It is hard to be perfect, but the Baker University men’s soccer team is continuing to move toward that mark.

The Wildcats moved their record to 9-0 after their 4-2 win Tuesday over Oklahoma Wesleyan University. The ’Cats put the game away early, netting three goals in the first half.

The defense had a tremendous first half, holding Oklahoma Wesleyan scoreless before allowing two goals in the second.

Head coach Nate Houser said the ’Cats did a great job taking control from the beginning of the game.

“We were, again, able to set a pretty decent pace,” Houser said. “After the nine days off we really wanted to really get ourselves back into motion as quickly as possible.”

The team has really come together as a unit, both offensively and defensively. Houser said that it is key to have confidence in each other.

“I think you get an overall comfort that the team has a confidence,” Houser said. “I think you don’t have to be perfect, that they understand that ‘I can make a mistake and it’s not (going to kill) us,’ and so it let’s them try things.”

Sophomore Matt Bickley has been a key member on the defensive side of things. While he was goalkeeper, Oklahoma Wesleyan was unable to put the ball in the back of the net. It wasn’t until Bickley exited the game in the second half that Oklahoma Wesleyan finally got on the scoreboard.

Bickley attributes his success to his teammates in front of him.

“A lot of it has to do with my defense,” Bickley said. “I have the best backline in the nation in front of me, and so it’s no surprise that we’re having little goals being scored on us.”

The offense has come together just as well as the defense.

Sophomore Andy Griffin scored one of the three goals in the first half, and attributes his success on the shot to his teammates as well.

“(Senior) Tom (Lowndes) was playing excellent balls into the corner and (junior) Odaine (Sinclair) and I decided to switch runs,” Griffin said. “I could just tell (Lowndes) was (going to) put one in near post sooner or later, so I just decided to make my run near post, and it’s a great ball by (Lowndes), and I was able to finish it.”

Even with a perfect record, Houser knows his team can continue to improve.

“We’re far from a complete picture,” Houser said. “Again, we told them ‘we’ve been here before,’ can we be better?”

The ’Cats will take on Central Methodist University at 5 p.m. Sunday in Fayette, Mo.

Baker shut out the Central Methodist Eagles 2-0 in last season’s match at Liston Stadium.

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