Clarksville, Ark.-Ozarks started the day in way that suggested an upset was on the horizon Tuesday against Central Baptist College.
According to head coach John Cossaboon, Ozarks (5-0-1) opened up unimpressively, but still won 5-2.
“We just didn’t start the match with enough intensity to expect a favorable result,” said Cossaboon. “In the first half the boys didn’t exert pressure defensively. We didn’t play our traditional high pressure match and we let Central Baptist through the back for two goals.”
Playing amid tough field conditions and battling another poor start, Ozarks found itself in comeback mode against the winless Mustangs (0-6-0). The Eagles were forced to play catch-up and eventually responded with a timely goal just before halftime to cut the deficit to 2-1.
“We made some basic defensive mistakes that were fueled by a lack of intensity and were down 2-0 early in the match,” said Cossaboon. “Our play early in matches is not acceptable.”
Ozarks tied the match when Thomas Mills found the back of the net in the 61st minute and then Eloy Salgado netted the game-winner in the 75th minute to move Ozarks in front 3-2. Patrick Shoulders scored in the 81st minute and Matt Weaver added the final goal in the 85th minute.
“We’ve shown resiliency, but what we haven’t shown is the ability to start well,” said Cossaboon. “We can’t continue to play like this with our conference games coming up. The coaching staff is disappointed with the way we’ve performed early in matches, yet we love the ability the boys have shown fighting back. But eventually these slow starts will come back and get us.”
Ozarks final two non-conference games will be in Memphis, Tennessee, this weekend. Both matches will present very good tests before the Eagles open conference play the following week. The Eagles will face Millsaps College Friday and Rhodes College Saturday and then will host conference opponent Hardin-Simmons September 26.