The Rich Mountain Bucks soccer teams traveled to Northeastern Oklahoma last Wednesday, September 11, for their first NJCAA Division 1 Region 2 conference games.

In a competitive girls match, neither team was able to score in the 90 minutes of regulation, forcing overtime play. After two ten-minute overtime periods, the contest ended in a 0-0 tie.

Buck Head Coach Brian Byrd commented on the women’s game saying, “The girls fought hard, and they worked super hard against a good team historically, and came out with a tie.”

Byrd added, “These ladies are improving daily. It is going to turn around soon. I can feel it coming. They simply care.”

Following the women’s contest, the Bucks men’s team (4-1-1) took the field to match up with the Golden Norsemen (3-3). Angel Avalos got Northeastern Oklahoma on the scoreboard first with a goal in the 29th minute of play. At halftime, Rich Mountain trailed 1-0.

Ten minutes into the second period, Thomas Mullen tied the game for the Bucks with a goal of his own, with an assist from Daniel Perez. Just twelve minutes later, Perez added a goal for himself with an assist from Marcos Pires, and gave the Bucks a 2-1 lead. Rich Mountain defended well the remainder of the contest, and won the match 2-1 for the Bucks first conference win in program history.

After the game, Coach Byrd stated, “What a great way to start off conference play. I’m super proud of how the boys went into the game with the proper mindset.”

“The team is hungry, they want to make history in this inaugural year, and I as the coach feel they can do it.”

“They take it personal and play with passion. You can see it in their eyes prior to kickoff. It’s contagious!”

Byrd went on to say, “The NJCAA world has taken notice of our success right off the bat. It is just the beginning.”

On Sunday, the Bucks hosted the Murray State College Aggies at Bearcat Stadium for their second conference game of the season. The Rich Mountain women’s team (0-4-1) played a competitive match, but fell short to the Aggies (7-0) by a score of 2-0.

“The girls fought hard, but with our smaller numbers this heat is really impacting us toward the end of games,” said Coach Byrd.

“We have some things to fix for sure, and hopefully watching the game film we can correct some of those problems.”

“I’m proud of the ladies for their efforts, and as soon as this brutal heat goes away I bet we start seeing better results.”

In the men’s contest, Rich Mountain and the Aggies (7-0-1) played exciting soccer, however, neither team was able to reach the back of the net. After regulation play, the contest reached double overtime and eventually ended in a 0-0 tie. 

“This was a hard fought tie against historically one of the best teams in our conference,” Coach Byrd stated. “We had a chance to put them away in overtime.”

“Murray State was full of sophomores and their maturity showed, but we stuck with them toe-to-toe for a full 90 minutes.”

“We came out of the game beat up a bit, but we have a week to get treatment and get everybody healthy for the next match. We should be ready to go.”

The Bucks women’s team traveled to Redlands Community College (1-5) on Wednesday, and will host Seminole State College (4-0-2) on Sunday, September 22, at Bearcat Stadium. The men’s game for Sunday between the Bucks and UA Cossatot has been cancelled. The Rich Mountain men will be back on the field when both teams travel to Eastern Oklahoma State on Thursday, September 26.

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