Roughriders soccer in final stages as playoffs approach

By Derek Shore

Sports Editor

After shattering the record books with a historic 15-4 record in 2016 en route to their first appearance in the championship match of the Region 16 tournament last fall, the newest-version of the Roughriders soccer team went 9-5-1 in the 2017-18 campaign.

Crowder’s head men’s soccer coach Brad Smith likes what he has seen up to this point in the season.

“It has been an okay group,” Smith said. “We get along pretty well, so that makes it fun. I think we are probably better than our record says. We just have had trouble finishing (games) and scoring (goals).

“As soon as we figure that out, our record will be better,” Smith continued.

Soccer 2017-09-12 003The Roughriders, who went a perfect 5-0 during preseason play, opened regular season play with a 3-2 overtime loss to Rose State College at home on Aug. 26.
Three days later, Crowder suffered a tie to Coffeyville Community College which went into double overtime. The team recovered at home with a pair of wins against St. Charles Community College and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, respectively.

Since Sept. 8, the Roughriders have gone 7-4 over an 11-game stretch.

“We have knocked it around really well,” Smith said. “We have played pretty solid. We have talked to our kids about four things, ‘Effort, Enthusiasm, Execution, and Endurance.’ We are just getting to the point where we are focusing on execution and doing things the way we want it done – finishing and endurance.

“The stretch run is coming up. We have got to be ready for that. We are getting into our final stages.”

Among eight returnees overall, Smith listed sophomores Daniel Ost (goalkeeper), and Eloi Bassene (centerback) as the ones who have been “steady. The Roughriders also welcomed a number of newcomers to the program this fall. According to Smith, centerback Lucas Melli and forward Guillaume Rouzic have stood out.

“Even though we could have done better than what our record is right now, I think we are doing well,” Bassene said. “We have players from all over the world and each one of us have different styles of play. You can imagine sometimes it’s hard to combine all of them.”

Coming up, Crowder, who drew the No. 3 seed in the Region 16 tournament, open up postseason play at home against Maple Woods on Sat., Oct 21 at 2 p.m.

“I think we are playing better better than we did last year except we aren’t  aren’t finishing (games),” Smith said. “I don’t know what that means, but we’ll see how it shakes out.”