Michael Stewart, Contributing Writer
The Oklahoma Baptist Men’s Soccer team wrapped up its season last week with a second place finish in the GAC post-season tournament.
After only winning six games in 2015, the Bison surpassed all expectations and ended the year with 12 wins in 2016.
This is the first 10-win season since 2010, and the first under coach Anthony Yousey.
Seniors Vicente Castillo and Matthew Giudice proved to be key components of the Bison’s success as they had a combined 16 goals and five assists tallied on the season.
“Everything I do is for my team,” captain Vicente Castillo said.
Along with the old faces on the roster, numerous new faces joined the team.
Freshmen Alejandro Castillo and Michael Stewart played a huge role in the Bison’s 2016 campaign.
Alejandro Castillo, brother of Vicente Castillo, competed for a total of 853 minutes on the season, adding three assists and one goal.
Stewart helped anchor the Bison’s defense all season, earning Freshman of the Year and second team all-conference honors, while adding one goal and two assists.
After starting the season with a losing record of two wins and three losses, the
Bison’s perseverance, hard work and adjustments all proved effective as the Bison hit a hot six-game win streak midway through the season.
At the beginning of the year, the Bison struggled defensively, allowing 13 goals through a five game span.
However, at the other end of the field, the team averaged three to four goals a game.
With this in mind, coach Yousey turned his focus on defense.
After giving Thomas Ackernacht his first shot as the starting goalkeeper, the defensive tides started to turn.
Thomas helped post the Bison’s first shutout of the season nine games in against conference rivals Ouachita Baptist University.
This was the first of six in a row for Thomas, and the Bison and proved to turn the tables for the team heading into conference play.
The Bison ended with a 5-1 record during the conference regular season, securing the GAC regular season title.
This was also a first for head coach Yousey.
Despite a near sweep of the conference in the regular season, the Bison fell short of the GAC post-season title as Harding University blanked the Bison 2-0 in the tournament final.
The Bison look to build on their 12-win season in the fall of 2017, as they compete as an official Division 2 program for the first time.