Lenoir-Rhyne University handed the Lady Bulldogs a 6-0 defeat in Greenville, Tennessee last Sunday.
“Sunday was a tough game in some respects, but was very encouraging in others,” Isaac Brooks, head coach, said. “Lenoir-Rhyne is a very tough team, and we controlled the tempo very well. It was encouraging to see the girls taking it to a nationally-ranked team. On the other hand, we are trying several players in new positions. I have asked them to come out of their comfort zones, learn new positions and perform against seasoned competition.”
Danya Horchi, junior biology major and center defender, said facing such challenging teams at the beginning of the season will ultimately benefit the team. The games will allow the team to work on fixing weaknesses to be in great shape in time for the conference games.
Letting five goals in during the first half motivated the women in the second half, Horchi said.
“I think a defining moment was coming back out of the second half and only letting in one goal,” Horchi said. “It tells a lot about our team’s attitude and mission on the field. We did not play to our skills, but we kept the effort up.”
Kayleigh Patterson, junior public relations major and team captain of the Lady Bulldogs, has faith that the team will bring forward a successful season regardless of the rough beginning.
“I am frustrated with the start of the season, but we are getting our problems fixed before conference play starts next weekend,” Patterson said. “We knew going in to the season that our first games would be a challenge for us, but we wish we could have performed better in those games.”
Patterson has not had the opportunity to play against their next competitor, Harding University, but she is looking forward to the game. Patterson expects the team to come out hungry for a win because the team has specifically made efforts to fix issues from this week to win this Friday’s game at Harding at 6 p.m.
The Union Bulldogs men’s team took a 2-1 loss from Christian Brothers University last night.
Matt Kesler, senior philosophy major and goalkeeper, said both teams fought for the full 90 minutes and did their best. It was a great and challenging game.
“Even going down 2-0, our guys kept fighting, and that paid off with a goal,” Kesler said. “If a few more opportunities had gone our way, I believe we very well could have won that game. At the end the result was just a matter of a few opportunities going CBU’s way instead of our way.”
If Kesler could go back and change anything about the game, he said he would have saved the second goal that he actually had one hand on. As a whole, Kesler believes that the team played hard and successfully.
Despite the loss, the players and coaches of this team are determined to have a great season. Clovis Simas, head coach of the men’s soccer team, credits the players with the improved beginning of this season as opposed to last year’s.
“We added 12 new players to our squad this year,” Simas said. “The difference is in the quality of players we were able to recruit, in addition to the quality of our returning student athletes.”
Clayton Martin, senior sports management major and forward, is happy to see the season begin this way for the Bulldogs.
As he looks ahead to the remainder of the season, Martin said he doesn’t want his individual goals to distract from the overall goals as a team.
“I focus on what we need to do as a team and see how I could help reach those team goals,” Martin said. “Ultimately we are here to win championships. One of our goals for the year is to win the conference tournament.”
The Union Bulldogs will play a home game against Upper Iowa University on this Sunday, Sept. 20 at 1 p.m.