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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Eagles win five straight, climb standings

Friday, October 26, 2007  
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By Chad Hartwell

After beginning this year’s soccer season slowly, the Oklahoma Christian University men’s soccer team rallied together to obtain a five game winning streak.

With the winning streak, the Eagles were able to move from the bottom of the Sooner Athletic Conference standings to a No. 3 seed in the conference tournament.

“It is normal for teams to start slow but throughout the season to start to pick it up and do better,” sophomore Cristian Fernandes said.

Earlier in the season, Coach David Scott challenged the players as a team to figure out their problems and correct them.

“He put a lot of responsibility on our shoulders to step it up and fix things, and everyone on the team really came through,” goalkeeper Bryan Cochrum said. “We figured out that we just need to go out and work as hard as we can, and the wins will come.”

To step up to their coach’s challenges, the Eagles held meetings outside of their scheduled practices.

“We started coming together in meetings outside of practice with team members only and talked out what needed to happen,” senior Jason Frei said. “There is still room for improvement, but I think that we have all started playing more for each other.”

The Eagles’ string of five victories came to an end last Saturday, in a loss to fifth-ranked Southern Nazarene University but did not bring down Oklahoma Christian’s confidence.

“The loss against Southern Nazarene was tough, but we are still alive,” Cochrum said.  “We are still very positive.”

The Eagles plan to return in their next game and show they remain strong competitors.

“Now is the time to tighten up and focus on what we have to do to win games,” Frei said. 

With the No. 3 seed, the Eagles will have home field advantage for the first game of the single-elimination SAC Tournament Friday.

“The fans can expect from us a spirit of fight and dedication to win our next games,” Fernandes said. “We are focused on what we want, and now, we are ready to fight for a spot in the national tournament.”

Fernandes leads the Eagles with 15 goals and 32 points this season. His 15 goals rank him sixth overall in the nation for goals scored.

The players believe that a big part of their success on the soccer field comes from the players developing close relationships with one another. They consider themselves a very close knit group.

“Our team is like a family,” Fernandes said. “We are brothers. We help each other in practice, in games, and also outside of the soccer program.”

Overall, the Eagles feel the struggles they went through earlier in the season have made them a better team.

“We have been through a lot of hard times this season and have come out better for it,” Cochrum said. “Each one of us knows that every other teammate has our back.”

The Eagles have a 7-5-2 overall record so far this year and finished with a 4-2-1 record in SAC play.

As the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament, Oklahoma Christian will take on No. 6 seed John Brown University. The Eagles defeated John Brown in their regular season meeting by a score of 3-2 on a game winning goal by Fernandes in the 89th minute.

The two teams will square off tonight at Oklahoma Christian University’s soccer field at 3 p.m. The winner will face either No. 2 seed Rogers State University or No. 7 Oklahoma Baptist University.

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