The tale of two Raider soccer teams could not be more different. First, there is the Southern Oregon University men’s team which started this year and the women’s team which has been going strong since 2000. Then there is chemistry and win/loss columns. In comparing the teams there is a plot twist–despite a lack of history and cohesion the men have a more impressive record so far.
Raider women have known chemistry. They’ve played together in previous seasons. For the men, it’s building from scratch which concerns freshman midfielder Gregory Rappet,“Becoming a team and playing as one team rather than eleven individuals. Some teams have played together for 3 to 4 years and know each others tendencies, but for us we had a month to learn each others style of play and mend together to be successful.”
When it comes to the season so far, however, the men’s team looks impressive: they are going in with an undefeated record in early non-conference games despite their first win being unorthodox–the Trinity Lutheran College team forfeited the game. Although they didn’t even play, the SOU men took this momentum and ran with it, winning their next four games. The strongest win of these came against William Jessup, in a 1-0 overtime thriller; Freshman striker Brendan Allen and his foot put the Raiders over the hump five minutes into overtime.
The women’s early season went a little differently, only winning one non-conference game in six. This record doesn’t entirely reflect their play, as three of the games went to double overtime, two of those resulting in a draw, and the other a loss by only one goal. The lady Raiders lone non-conference victory in this stretch came against Simpson University, in a 12-0 romping at Raider Stadium.
They followed the pre-season by dropping their next three games, two of which were conference games. One of the senior defenders, Jaclyn McQuiston, expressed that they had a brutal mid-season road trip when asked about the rough start. They had to travel to California for two games, then to Idaho and finished off in Montana. This gave the girl’s an overall record of 1-6-1 and a conference record of 0-2.
But the Women’s team is not alone in its struggle. Despite the men’s impressive early season success, they ran into some problems. They dropped their next two conference games. However, they bounced back strong going 4-2 through their next six conference. This gave them an overall record of 9-4 and a conference record of 4-4. The men looked like they found their offense through these six games. They scored eleven goals in just two games, coming against Walla Walla and Multnomah University.
Then, in sports as in life, things didn’t stay smooth throughout–they lost the next two away conference games, not even scoring a goal. However, they bounced back with their most recent win at rival, Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT). Luis Ayala, a freshman midfielder had a lot to say about the big win, “The win against OIT was important as we had a few tough losses before getting back into winning. It also puts us closer to accomplishing our goal of making conference playoffs but the following two games will dictate whether we make it or not.”
After the women’s slow start, they also came back strong. They kicked their way to wins in the next six out seven conference games. The cool as a cucumber forward, Presley Lambert seemed to have the golden foot in the first two games of this seven game stint. In back to back games in back to back days she sealed Raider victories with clutch second half goals.
The girls finished this seven game patch with two huge wins against Northwest University and OIT. Both games they won in stunning fashion. The first win came against Northwest University in double overtime on header from Allyson Ward. Their most recent win on Friday was won in the 88th minute of the game on another header by Ward. This win secured their spot in the conference tournament.
The women have increased their play every game and they know it, “We do better and better every game. Our ultimate goal is to increase our level of play to a point where it allows us to win the conference tournament,” says senior defender Avery Dutton.
Both of SOU’s soccer teams have been through the highs and lows of collegiate sports in a rather severe roller coaster ride but for very different reasons. But what they share in common now is a decent chance to finish strong–the women are 6-3 in conference and the guys are 5-6 in conference. Both teams have a chance to improve their conference standings against rival Carol college and set themselves up nicely for the conference tournament.
For the upcoming schedule; click on the link.