Senior Tom Lowndes heads the ball toward the goal against Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. The Wildcats defeated the top-ranked, No. 1 Broncos’, ending their NAIA-record 39-game winning streak. Baker is now one of two undefeated teams remaining in the nation as the Wildcats are 14-0.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
The late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis said it best with, “Just win baby.”
The Baker University men’s soccer team did just that, continuing its pursuit of perfection on the road against Hastings College Tuesday.
The ’Cats emerged victorious in a 1-0 overtime win, moving the team to 14-0 on the season, making the team only one of two teams in the nation to remain undefeated.
Coming into the match, Hastings had a 39-game winning streak and the No. 1 ranking in the nation
The last team Hastings lost to was Midland Lutheran College on Nov. 12, 2009.
Senior Tom Lowndes clinched the game for the Wildcats in overtime, during the 92nd minute of the match.
“I hit it cleanly and it went in,” Lowndes said.
Each team had five shots on goal, but the ’Cats were the better team both offensively and defensively.
In addition to Lowndes’ goal, sophomore Matt Bickley made five saves on the evening to highlight the ’Cats’ defensive performance.
Despite the scoreless struggle, junior Laeth Hamil started to believe more and more that the ’Cats would come out with a victory.
“As the game was going on, and they weren’t dominating us, and, you know, it was pretty close,” Hamil said. “Everyone was getting more and more excited because we were staying with the No. 1 team in the nation. When Tom (Lowndes) scored, that was just the icing on the cake, and we won the game.”
After being unable to capitalize early in the match, Lowndes, who was named the HAAC offensive player of the week, made the most of his opportunity when his team needed him the most.
“It’s just kind of right place, right time,” Lowndes said. “(Junior Nick Aguilar), he kind of took a shot and he kind of, you know, we kind of joking around that it was the greatest shank ever because it kind of fell right to me, inside and to the right.”
Head coach Nate Houser credits the success of the team, in part, to the unity between teammates.
“They respect and they like each other,” Houser said. “I think that they do check their ego at the door and play for the name on the front of the shirt. It’s everything.”
Houser also gives a lot of credit to the fans who have been so supportive of the team.
“The students and the fans have been unbelievable,” Houser said. “They really are our twelfth man on the field.”
The ’Cats resume conference play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Liston Stadium against Benedictine College.