Wildcats see tough competition on first road trip

The Baker University men's and women's soccer teams took their highly-ranked talent south to Oklahoma Friday and Saturday.

Both teams faced tough competition on the field in their games against the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University.

The men's team, ranked No. 2 in the nation, put up a fight in its first game of the season against USAO, but dropped the game 2-1 in double overtime.

USAO's Perry Sansford scored his team's first goal in the 17th minute of the game. Baker didn't show a sign of rebuttal until there were 20 minutes left in regulation, when senior Donny George scored off of junior Ethan Bauer's assist.

Junior Matt Bickley had a total of eight saves between the pipes for the Wildcats before the second overtime. The only shot on goal taken during overtime slid past Bickley, leading the USAO Drovers to victory after 108 minutes of play.

The second match for the men's team was significantly shorter than the first, as it ended in the 71st minute due to lightning in the area.

Baker outshot OCU 12-4, but could not manage to put the ball in the net before the necessary 70 minutes of play were completed, and the game ended in a 0-0 tie. Seniors Nick Aguilar and Nate Byarlay each had shots on goal for the Wildcats.

"From a results standpoint, it's fair to say we're all a little disappointed with a loss and a draw," Aguilar said. "In the first game, we didn't perform well enough to win and USAO punished us in the second period of (overtime) for not putting forth the kind of committed effort that we must have to win this year."

While Aguilar and the Wildcats are not content with how they performed in Oklahoma, they would rather struggle now than late in the season.

"Although we didn't come away with any wins, this past weekend was a necessary experience for us," Aguilar said.

The women's team, ranked No. 6, started strong on the weekend by pulling out a 3-1 victory against USAO.

Sophomore midfielder Ashley Mauck scored her first goal of the season around the 27th minute mark putting Baker ahead 1-0. It took about 40 minutes of play until Baker found the back of the net again, but when they did they scored back-to-back goals by midfielders Alexa Fryer and Finola Corley.

BU goalkeeper, Rachel Theobald, recorded five saves during the game and almost earned a shutout until USAO freshman Ryah Vyse scored in the 89th minute of the game.

Theobald remained stout in the Baker women's next game with four saves until the 106th minute of double overtime when OCU senior Sheridan Horner's shot made it past her.

Two out of the three games the Baker women have played thus far have been forced into double overtime, a situation that sophomore captain Shelby Schiraldi believes the team can learn from.

"Obviously [we] want to get the job done in regulation and we don't want to go into overtime, but the fact that we did shows that we still have the fight until the very end," Schiraldi said.

Theobald agrees with Schiraldi in hoping double overtime games don't become a regularity for the team. She also hopes that the young team can learn and improve from this weekend.

"We are really talented and I am lucky to have them in front of me," Theobald said. "We just need to stay focused and keep our confidence up."

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