The Oklahoma Christian University Lady Eagles Soccer team made a historical run in 2006, going undefeated during the regular season and capturing a Sooner Athletic Conference Championship.
Every starter from last years’ team returns this season expecting more success after setting a school record for winning percentage in a season (.857).
“We’ve got great depth on the bench,” All-American Taryn Caylor-Kingery said. “We are strong in all positions and have some great new freshmen that are really going to step up and play some big roles for us this season.”
With their depth, experience, and new talent the Lady Eagles hope to repeat history this season.
“Winning the SAC is definitely one of our goals this year,” senior All-American Kristin Brown said. “We would also really like to win our Regional and of course get back to nationals.”
Head coach Sean O’Connor returns for his second season with Oklahoma Christian after being named SAC Coach of the Year in 2006. He too expects the same amount of success as last season, if not more.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the group we have this year,” O’Connor said. “We have worked hard in practices and the girls have never been more focused. We are just going to take the season one game at a time, and focus on the little things. But ultimately every team’s goal is to get to nationals and that’s what we are going to try and do.”
Despite having an established starter at every position, O’Connor believes those starters will be pushed by a talented group of freshmen.
“We have got some great freshman this year,” O’Connor said. “Mackenzie McMahon and Emma Cole are probably going to start for us, and that’s a pretty big deal to start as a freshman on a team that already has so much talent. They are really going to be players to watch this year.”
Caylor-Kingery and fellow senior Kristen Brown will run with sophomore Stephanie Duncan to lead the Lady Eagle’s scoring attack. The trio combined for 45 of Oklahoma Christian’s 57 goals. Brown led the team with 17 goals while Caylor-Kingery scored 15 goals to go with 10 assists for a team leading 42 points. Duncan contributed 12 goals and 10 assists.
The defense will be anchored by junior goalkeeper Lisa Jorgenson. Last year Jorgensen set school records for fewest goals allowed (15) and goals against average (0.75).
Each game scheduled could prove to be a tough task for the Lady Eagles.
“There are a lot of great teams in our conference, but Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma Baptist University and John Brown University are always exciting games,” Caylor-Kingery said. “There is going to be a little more pressure to play each team well and win this season because we are only going to get to play most teams just once instead of twice this year.”
With all of Last season’s success, the Lady Eagles still worked harder than ever during the off-season.
“We have been practicing three-a-days which we have never done before, and the team chemistry is great on and off the field. I think we are ready for any team.” Senior Meagan Pless said.
The seniors are both excited and sad about playing at a competitive level for the last time.
“I think this season is going to be more emotional than the rest, of course, because I am a senior, and it is my last shot,” Caylor-Kingery said. “I know the other senior girls feel the same way, but that’s just going to drive us more to do our best.”
While the Lady Eagles’ hope for another historical season, they are trying to keep things relaxed.
“I believe we had a real special season last year, but we aren’t putting tons of pressure on this season,” O’Connor said. “We don’t talk about wins or losses. We just focus on the things we can control.
The Lady Eagles take on William Jewell (Mo.) University tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. at Oklahoma Christian.