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Both Bethel soccer teams fall in KCAC opener
The Threshers were swept by Oklahoma Wesleyan.
BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — On Saturday both the Bethel women’s and men’s soccer teams opened up their conference season with a trip to Bartlesville to take on Oklahoma Wesleyan. The women fell 3-1 to the No. 6 nationally ranked Eagles and the men lost 7-1 to No. 12 in the nation.
The women played first in the doubleheader. First-year head coach Ignacio Milla would return to Oklahoma Wesleyan for the first time to face his former team, as Milla was part of the success of their soccer team in the past.
“It was a special game for me,” said Milla “It was a place where I was able to grow and become a better coach, and it opened the doors for me to be here.”
Oklahoma Wesleyan was able to start the game quickly, striking first within the first 12 minutes of the game. Bethel was able to recover and was able to keep the Lady Eagles from doing more damage.
The Threshers kept a solid defensive shape and were able to get on the board 9 minutes later. Senior Clarie Hedlund was able to net her second of the season as she was assisted by Sydney Brown.
Bethel kept the game competitive for most of the first half. Oklahoma Wesleyan was able to go up once again with 6 minutes remaining in the half. Bethel went into half-time down with the score of 2-1.
The Lady Eagles were able to put one more goal behind the net in the second half, which would bring the score to 3-1. Oklahoma Wesleyan was not able to do more damage as senior goalkeeper Mariah Vallejo had 15 saves during this match. This is the most saves by a Thresher's keeper since 2017.
“Having 15 saves gave me some confidence in it,” said Vallejo. “It just means that we have a good goalkeeper coach right now. All the goalkeepers work pretty hard at every practice.”
The men's soccer team was featured in the later action by playing 12th-ranked Oklahoma Wesleyan in their conference opener. Head coach Luka Milicevic would also return back to Bartlesville, his alma mater.
Bethel looked to come out strong and try to defend their goal. This was short-lived, as the Eagles would look to strike first within the first two minutes of the game.
Oklahoma Wesleyan went up with a goal from outside the box. This would be a wake-up call for the Threshers, as they were able to keep out of their net for the 26 minutes. The Eagles were able to make it 2-0 with a shot from inside the box.
Bethel was quick to get a goal of their own as freshman Filip Maksaimovic was able to find the back of the net. Maksaimovic was able to fscore thanks to senior Kevin Applewhite, who assisted him going forward.
“We need to play quicker when it's a less strong game,” said senior Cristobal Goldberg “I think finishing the chances would give us more confidence.”
Before closing out the first-half the Eagles would add a pair of goals, making the score 4-1 at half-time.
Coming out of half-time, Oklahoma Wesleyan was quick to dominate possession of the ball. Bethel would keep looking to create chances throughout the second half, but the Eagles were able to put three more goals behind the net in the second half, bringing the final score to 7-1 in their favor.
“Coming into this game, we knew they would be a tough team to play,” said Milicevic. “I played for that program for four years it is always special to go back to that place.”
Both teams will be back in conference action on Wednesday as they will travel to Lindsborg to face the Bethany Swedes with scheduled kick-off time for the women's team at 5 p.m. with the men's game scheduled to begin after at 7:30 p.m.