Redshirt freshman Thomas Shults made two overtime saves to help the men’s soccer team secure their first shutout of the season with a 0-0 draw against Ouachita Baptist University on Tuesday. With the tie, the Bisons moved to 2-7-3 on the season.
The teams played through two overtime periods before ending the game with a draw.
The Bisons outshot the Tigers 18-15, with 10 shots in the first half. Shults started at goalkeeper after freshman Tyler Melson suffered a concussion last Saturday. Shults ended the non-conference game with five saves.
“We really couldn’t afford to lose the game,” Shults said, “so it felt good to come in and make saves and keep the shutout.”
Sophomore forward Dylan Sherrill said he felt the Bisons were the better team despite the final score.
“We didn’t capitalize on our chances,” Sherrill said. “It was a good game, but we should have won it.”
Harding played a season-high 20 players in preparation for several must-win conference games.
Currently ranked fifth in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, the Bisons need to win their remaining conference games to qualify for the conference tournament.
Sherrill said finishing scoring opportunities has been a problem throughout the season.
“We’ve had our chances and we’ve hit the post a lot,” Sherrill said. “We just haven’t been able to finish.”
According to head coach Odie Guzman, the team can create chances, but has struggled to take advantage of them.
“We can’t seem to put the ball in the back of the net,” Guzman said. “Our defense is good, our midfield is good, but when we have an opportunity to take a shot, we need to make sure it gets in the back of the net.”
While the team has to finish the season strong, senior forward Cole Walker said he believes the team will play in the conference tournament.
“We haven’t made it easy on ourselves,” Walker said. “We’ve left most of the work for the end of the season, but we’re confident we can get the job done.”
According to Sherrill, the team is already playing with a different attitude than they were at the beginning of the season.
“We have a better mindset,” Sherrill said. “We have more confidence in knowing our goals and being able to achieve them.”
Guzman echoed the confidence shown by his players.
“One of the goals for these guys was making the conference tournament,” he said. “I still believe that is a goal that is attainable.”