Wildcat soccer teams defeat rival Benedictine
Two first half goals were all the Baker University men's soccer team needed on Saturday evening to steal the momentum and cruise to a 3-0 victory over rival Benedictine College.
The victory moved Baker (15-0, 5-0 HAAC) up to No. 2 in the country. The Wildcats also beat previous No. 1 Hastings last week.
“We had a big week,” coach Nate Houser said. “Looking at the calendar, we knew this was going to be a tough week. We've been dealing with stuff, but we wanted to see if we could start peaking before the regular season ended.
“With these guys [Benedictine], it's been a while since we've came out ahead,” he said. “We wanted to make sure there were no doubts and I don't think there were any doubts tonight.”
After the big win at Hastings, Houser wasn't concerned about his players having a letdown against the rival Ravens. In fact, it was just the opposite.
“I was worried about us being too excited for this one,” Houser said. “This is the Hatfields and the McCoys. Sometimes we are overly excited for it.”
Baker got on the scoreboard first in the 15th minute as Odaine Sinclair overpowered two Benedictine defenders in the box. Sean McAlister added a goal for the Wildcats in the 37th minute after receiving a ball in the box from Nick Ebmeyer, giving Baker the 2-0 advantage heading into the break.
“It was about weathering the storm for the first 15 minutes,” Houser said. “[Benedictine] was all fired up to play No. 5. As the game started to open up, I thought we did better and better. Before the second goal, you could tell it was coming.
“We talked about some things at halftime, but we get caught out right away,” he said. “That was a big save by Matt Bickley. That changes the whole thing from 2-1 to 3-0. That's a million miles and you saw it on the field.”
Sinclair would strike again in the 57th minute on a corner kick from Tom Lowndes to seal the 3-0 victory.
Goalkeeper Matt Bickley made five saves in the contest, to record his eighth shutout of the season.
“It's a good fall at Baker,” Houser said. “People are really supporting the guys. They see how hard they work. We have a good group of people that are easy to cheer for. But you can't do anything without the 12th man. They're fantastic.”
The Baker women also beat Benedictine on Saturday. The women's game needed double overtime to be completed.
The game itself was back-and-fourth throughout, but Baker's Ashley Mauck came through huge for the Baker University women's soccer team as it defeated Benedictine College 1-0 on Saturday evening.
“It was a big ball that we were able to clean up,” Houser said. “Ashley Mauck did a great job of getting in the box and she played her heart out.”
Baker lost a player early in the second half to a second yellow card. The Wildcats were forced to play with only 10 players for the remainder of the game.
“To play a man down for about 40 minutes and get a win in the second overtime, shows a lot of character,” Houser said. “They got more disciplined and they played better. It was fantastic. For our girls, after Tuesday's result (loss at Hastings), that was fantastic.”
Goalkeeper Maggie Dupes made five saves for the Wildcats as she recorded her third shutout of the season. The Wildcats (9-3-1, 3-1-1 HAAC) outshot the Ravens (9-4-3) 17-9 overall and had a 9-5 advantage in shots on goal.
Baker will next play Saturday at Culver-Stockton College. The women begin at 1 p.m. with the men following at 3 p.m.
“We're trying to color in the blank spots and be complete by the time the playoffs come,” Houser said. “Everybody is moving forward and that's all we can ask for.”