The Golden Eagles started their season in stride with a 1-0 exhibition win over Oklahoma Wesleyan.
After several scoring opportunities the Golden Eagles were able to put the ball in the back of the net in the 48 minute.
Midfielder Edgardo Mira broke down the defense and scored from 18 yards out on the right side of the box after fellow midfielder Gerardo “Lalo” Salas snuck a pass by two defenders to set him up.
The Golden Eagles can feel good about their offensive chances after their first game of the season.
They had four shots on goal, two by Mira and one each by Johnny Chavez and Matthew Rogers.
Chavez had a few one-on-one scoring chances but was turned away each time. He led the team with three shots.
Goalkeeper Ben LaCourse earned the win with three saves and no goals allowed. Mira said the team has gelled really well despite not being with each other long.
“We just showed up a week ago, and we have a different mentality from last year,” Mira said. “We just knew that we needed to work really hard. It is just amazing to have this many players who are willing to give it 100 percent (during) every game.”
Head coach Ryan Bush is pleased with his team’s makeup this season.
“The first thing is they showed up for pre-season camp a lot more fit, and fitness is huge in the Division I game,” Bush said. “So I think we’re a lot more capable physically.”
After a second place finish in conference last year, the team looks to dethrone the University of Denver as Summit League Champion this season, and improve on their 6-8-4 record.
Bush said expectations this year are very high. The team brings back 10 seniors and expects their maturity to give them an advantage.Bush added they are working together in their goal to win the Summit League Championship.
“The team’s really unified and they’ve come together, and they proved that in the way they worked this summer,” said Bush.
The team overall is more mature, and as they grow, so does their coach. Bush is now in his second year as head coach. He acknowledges that coaching is a learning process, and there is always room to improve, even as a coach.
“Every year as a leader you evolve, and you change and you transform,” Bush said. “I’ve learned a lot from their perseverance and their attitude and their buy-in to us and commitment to the program.”
The team will have a chance to fine-tune their game before the regular season with an exhibition match against USAO tonight at 5:45 p.m. at Case Soccer Complex. The season starts on Aug. 29 against Central Arkansas, on the road.