Men's soccer moves up to No. 2 in the nation

Junior Rich Klein fights off a Benedictine College defender in Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Ravens at Liston Stadium. The victory moved the Wildcats to 15-0 overall and 5-0 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

Junior Rich Klein fights off a Benedictine College defender in Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Ravens at Liston Stadium. The victory moved the Wildcats to 15-0 overall and 5-0 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Photo by Callie Paquette.

The Baker University men’s soccer team had its opportunity to hand out a little revenge against the Benedictine College Ravens Saturday at Liston Stadium. Benedictine defeated Baker last year 2-1 in the final game of the season, but the Wildcats came out on top this time with a 3-0 victory.

The defensive HAAC Player of the Week, Matt Bickley, recorded his 9th shutout of the season, while junior Odaine Sinclair started and finished things for the ’Cats, with goals in the 15th minute and in the 57th minute.

“I got a chip shot off and it went in,” Sinclair said. “That was the first one. The second goal was also an assist from (senior) Tom (Lowndes) … it just went in.”

Senior Sean McAlister provided great minutes off the bench, netting a goal between Sinclair’s in the 37th minute.

“It was pretty exciting,” McAlister said. “I was inside the (18-yard line) and pretty much kicked it as hard as I could and it went in.”

Head coach Nate Houser wasn’t worried about his team having a letdown after it’s big win against Hastings College. However, he was a little concerned that his team would come out a little too fired up.

“The question for that game was being too hyped up,” Houser said. “There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that we were going to show up. But it’s … you can’t get all of the bullets out of the gun in the first five minutes.”

That being said, Houser thought his team responded very nicely, settling into a grove that helped them get the 3-0 victory.

“I think the guys really put the game in perspective,” Houser said. “The thing we’ve been able to do is we focus on what our plan for the day is and being who we are within that plan, and I think you saw that after the first 20 minutes that that’s kind of what started to happen. It’s been fun to see that be kind of our (ammunition).”

With back-to-back wins over previously-ranked No. 1 Hastings and No. 16 Benedictine, Baker moved up from No. 5 to No. 2 in the nation.

The only team the Wildcats are ranked behind is Lindley Wilson College, which is 12-0 on the season. Lindley Wilson and Baker are the only two undefeated teams remaining in the nation.

The ’Cats still think they can get better, but Houser knows there’s a ceiling his team has yet to reach.

“There’s just a place, a gear, that we haven’t been to yet,” Houser said. “Soccer’s a game of transition, whether it’s getting the ball or giving up the ball. We still have some things we can recognize and get better.”

The Wildcats will face off against Culver-Stockton University at 3 p.m. Saturday in Canton, Mo.

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